My essentials: Ryan Falzon’s cultural picks

103 | Ryan Falzon, 35, visual artist, author, educator

1. Book

One of the recent books I read that truly resonated with me was “Mal’ Uocchiu” by Sam Migliore. The book delves into the concept of the evil eye as a social construct based on individual perspectives and situations. The narrative struck a chord with me, drawing parallels between the shared experiences of island insularity and geographic positioning. As well, the symbolism discussed aligns perfectly with my current research about an upcoming visual project.

2. Film

I am not big on films, and I have this habit of rewatching the same series and films while painting. My go-to are mainly Italian RAI crime documentaries, and series such as Gomorrah. I recently rewatched ‘Call me by Your Name’. The cinematography is beautiful and keeps on giving. For me, the film of the year was E stata la mano di Dio, which alongside La Grande Bellezza and Il Divo, remains a favourite from the director Paolo Sorrentino.

3. TV/Internet 

I faithfully follow art critic Jerry Saltz and several artists such as Tracey Emin and Matthew Collings, as well as art institutions like TATE, Gagosian, and Berlinische Galerie. I also adore the subliminal, offbeat, campy charm of Toiletpaper magazine. Just like Maltese television, I find most self-proclaimed influencers cheesy, often trashy, and most times, a bit sad, yet they remain an infinite source of observation and inspiration.

4. Music

Now this is difficult. As the delayed cold season is creeping in, I am listening to Molly Nillson, a recurrent favourite. I find her introspective lyrics and dreamlike sounds very painterly, alluding heavy tones of grey. Looking back at this year, a staple has been Italian hip hop, mainly from Rome and Naples. Fresh sounds and experiments are coming out of the regions, true to the grit associated with subcultures and underground movements. One is also to mention local artists such as Hearts Beating in Time, Michael Azzopardi and Kym Pepe.

5. Place 

My first go-to destination is always Berlin. I love the city—the people, the decadence, the arts, the openness. I feel at home there, but not in winter. I cannot live under grey skies with no sun for too long.