My essentials: James Vella Clark’s cultural picks

No 13 | James Vella Clark, 46, Corporate Communications Director, artist

1. Book

Similar to how I paint, where I’d rather work on different paintings simultaneously, I always read different books simultaneously. Currently I am reading Michel Pastoureau’s Vert - Histoire d’une couleur which essentially is a historical and cultural study of the colour green. The fact that lately I am frequently finding myself gravitating towards this colour especially for my home, could be one reason why I picked up the book in the first place! The other book I’m reading is Philip Larkin’s Collected Poems – also in a green cover.

2. Film/TV

I recently re-watched Mr Turner, a movie about the British artist William Turner, a movie which not only romanticized how the artist must have lived but perhaps how every artist should live, or perhaps shouldn’t. I was very mesmerized by this production and the meticulous attention to detail in recreating the works, his home and the locations that inspired him the most. What I loved most is the way it communicated Turner’s humanity and sensibilities – reminding us that above all, an artist is first and foremost human.

3. Internet 

Recently, a New York Times story struck me. It concerned Sotheby’s record-breaking auction of the “Macklowe Collection” of highly valuable art that belonged to real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his wife, Linda who amid their divorce proceedings were ordered by a court in 2018 to sell their blue-chip art collection and split the proceeds. The collection sold in a matter of hours and garnered $676.1 million in sales. I too know of separating couples who fought about nothing but when it came to their art…

4. Music

Those who know me, know how important music is to me. I am constantly accompanied by music. Being a bit old school, I still use my iPod but recently I started using Spotify and it has exposed me to a lot of new music. I cannot really pinpoint a particular artist or album or song because my choice varies with my moods. From London Grammar, The Weeknd, Sade, Sting, Coldplay, Madonna, U2, Radiohead, REM, Stereophonics to Chopin, Satie and Mozart.

5. Place

I love to travel and I for my sanity, I vouched to do it more, even if for a few days. I increasingly need a breather from Malta’s claustrophobic environment. Italy remains a firm favourite destination and I’ve been to many parts of it. But I am slowly building a mini-list of destinations I would love to visit for varying reasons – Morocco, Iceland, Peru, Norway, India, Kazakhstan, Japan.... But then there are two cities I definitely want to return to – Berlin and New York.