Henry Falzon: 'Life is intrinsically unfair, learn to live with that and make the best of it'

Artist Henry Falzon tells all in our Q&A

Photo by James Bianchi/MaltaToday
Photo by James Bianchi/MaltaToday

Henry Falzon is a self-taught artist, renowned for his pastel landscapes, capturing unexpected angles.  In his current exhibition ‘Corpus et Partes’ being held at il-Kamra ta’ Fuq, Falzon is venturing into a new theme and a new medium.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

A mug of tea while scrolling over news apps on my phone. I need to know what’s happening in the world.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Life is intrinsically unfair, learn to live with that and make the best of it.

What do you never leave the house without?

Keys, phone, and my wallet, I guess. With those, I can face most obstacles and make it back home.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Hard-working, a dreamer, and a semi-unlucky dude

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Definitely - my family. Nothing else comes close. Material wealth, while useful, never really impressed me.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

It has been food and wine, and now that we’re here, whisky and port. Hey, add some gin too! I enjoy scrolling on my phone (is it an addiction?), watching videos, reading news, commenting, searching for inspiration, and seeing what fellow artists are up to. Researching materials and techniques. The list is endless, and I never seem to run out of curiosity. TV can be scrapped for me.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Tomorrow is not yours... Keep your plans sketchy and adapt to today’s outcomes. The second must be ‘solutions are often closer to you than you think’

Property and cars aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

Henry and ‘expensive’ cannot ever be in the same sentence. I honestly cannot remember buying anything ‘expensive’ as implied to be luxurious.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew how to be more outgoing and confident. My younger days were introverted and self-limiting for no apparent reason.

Who’s your inspiration?

My brain simply conjures up ideas that are beyond myself, often I’m enslaved to follow them up. My inspirations seem to come from a mysterious black box hidden deep inside my brain, rather than from some external person.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Getting my voice across in a sea of endless competition.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?   

If I wasn’t an artist, I would be dead by boredom. Dead and buried.  Amen

Do you believe in God?

I’m not even sure of this. Certainly not in the classical biblesque way.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Hans Zimmer - I love his music so why not.

What’s your worst habit?

Delaying, procrastinating, doing something else further down the list.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I dread being drunk and out of control, it’s a very rare event that guarantees a ruined day after. That said, I love being a bit tipsy on occasions.

Who would you have played you in a film?

As an extra in Planet of the Apes.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Narcissism and their sad enjoyment in belittling others.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Hello Hans, can you hear me?

What is your most treasured material possession?

I have a dagger with an ivory grip - from circa 1600 and that’s about the time of Caravaggio. I fantasise it’s his nasty blade.

What is your earliest memory?

The earliest public event memory is the big rain of October 1979. I was five then.

When did you last cry, and why?

Do we ever stop? Life keeps throwing spanners in the works.

Who would you most like to meet?

Not a bad idea to meet someone from the distant past, though language barriers could be an issue. I’d like to meet the Malta prehistoric temple builders to ask them how, why and much more.

What’s your favourite food?

Too many to list. I eat anything but lamb.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I like to follow a bunch of artists. At the moment Dutch portraitist Hans Van de Leeuw.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

We romanticize the past, but it could be brutal. People die from toothaches, so let’s go to the future. Set the flux capacitor to 2123.

What book are you reading right now?

I read a ton of online material and articles, but no books.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To read people’s minds. That’s nasty!!

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Travel more, especially outside Europe.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I am listening to the 1990s at the moment - from house music and rock bands - what a lovely era.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

I cannot sing at all so the next best thing is my YouTube list dishing out a staple diet of my all-time favourites.