Cyprus Mail
A minute with

A minute with Alec Cumming Artist

Where do you live?
I live in Norwich, Norfolk, in the UK with my partner Annie and our dog Gus the collie

Best childhood memory?
When I was 9 I started taking lessons from a local artist in the village I grew up in. I would go weekly and paint from observation at her house, learning the roots of painting, it was there I discovered that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Most frequented restaurant and absolute favourite dish? What food would you really turn your nose up to?
My most favourite restaurant is Karim’s in Old Delhi, my favourite dish has to be their authentic Mughal dish of Buttered Chicken, I’ve tried to make it at home in England and I’ve never made it as good as them! I absolutely love food! Honestly I don’t think I have ever turned my nose up at any dish, I really love food and am always excited about trying new dishes.

What did you have for breakfast?
Always far too much coffee and something light like cereal. I don’t really eat much in the mornings.

Would you class yourself as a day or night person? What’s your idea of the perfect night/day out?
I’m more of a day person than I used to be when I was younger. Nowadays I like to get up early walk the dog and then head off to my studio in the countryside. I love the drive out of the city in the big open expanse of the Norfolk countryside and I’m lucky in that I love my job and get to make paintings every day – although I’m always be up for a few pints down the local pub in the evening.

Best book ever read?
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It reminds me of my time spent in India – and I’m a really slow reader so the thousand odd pages meant it took me months to read it so I really got absorbed by the story and the intertwining narratives within it.

Favourite film of all time?
True Romance, it is one of Quentin Tarantino’s best films in my eyes, full of twists and turns in his classic style.

Best holiday ever taken? What’s your dream trip?
The best holiday I have ever taken was when my partner and I went on a Californian road trip in an RV from LA up to Yosemite National Park across to San Francisco and then back down to LA through Santa Cruz and Monterey on highway 101 along the coast. It was a completely new experience for me seeing the states, and I took in a whole new landscape and a lot of burgers!
My dream trip, would be to return to India, as a visitor, after living there for several years. I want to return with fresh eyes and explore some of the less travelled paths, I’d love to visit the Ajanta Cave temples.

What music are you listening to in the car at the moment?
The Clash by the Clash. Although you’d never think it now when I was 16 I had dreadlocks all the way down my back and was in a punk band, so I still have a big place in my heart for punk music.

What is always in your fridge?
Cheese and a nice cold beer.

Dream house: rural retreat or urban dwelling? Where would it be, what would it be like?
The countryside, somewhere hot, it would be characterful in design with a big veranda, a big outside space where I can paint and hang out in the evenings, and of course somewhere with a big garden for Gus to run around in.

If you could pick anyone at all (alive or dead) to go out for the evening with, who would it be?
The American painter Philip Guston, who died in the 1980s. I’d want to ask him about his process and influences, and also I think he would be pretty good to share a couple of bottles of wine with.

If the world is ending in 24 hours what would you do?
Walk the dog and pretend like everything is okay.

What is your greatest fear?
Spiders – I once got bitten by a jumping spider in Delhi and my hand got infected and was really gross, since then Annie (my partner) has constantly been winding me up about having to remove spiders from the house.

Tell me a joke…
Why are the Middle Ages referred to as the Dark Ages? Because they had a plenty of knights…

An exhibition of Alec’s paintings will open in Limassol on Saturday in the exhibition Perfect Adventures, running until November 16 at the Edit Gallery, Limassol. Opening night: 6.30-9pm. Tuesday-Friday: 10am-1pm and 3-7pm. Saturday: 10am-1pm. Tel: 25-251710

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