We are very lucky to have had the opportunity to give an artist interview to the inspirational Gregory Burns in our 20 Questions feature below.

Gregory Burns is a world-class athlete and internationally recognised fine artist. He set four world records in swimming during three consecutive Paralympic Games. Retiring from competitive sports at 43, Gregory went on to complete 3 Ironman events. After 30 years of painting, his journey as an artist has received critical acclaim in over a dozen countries, receiving the Sports Artist of the Year Award in 2016 and he has been the featured Resident Artist in over 30 venues worldwide. Gregory’s notable achievements have been the source of inspiration for thousands through international speaking engagements. He is based in Singapore and California.  See what he had to say….

Image: Gregory Burns

1. Three words that best describe you.

Communicative, Mobile, Perseverant

2. Your favourite quote and why.

“Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up”, Chuck Close. Too often artists are perceived as folks who just create when the spirit or muse moves them. I’m more inclined to see true artists as athletes who train almost everyday and even when they don’t necessarily want to. It’s a slow constant burn not a flash in the pan. 

3. What’s your favourite art medium to create something? 

Mixed media collage painting.

4. What do you always carry with you in your handbag/man bag (not keys, wallet or phone)?

A pen.

5. Favourite song to sing in the shower?

Let It Be, The Beatles.

6. Best arts venue in Singapore and why?

The Substation because it’s accessible to artists and the public.

7. What are your 3 favourite desert island discs? (you’ve only got three albums to take with you to a deserted island for 6 months so choose wisely)

Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and

8. What wrecks inspiration and creativity?


9. Name a film or documentary we should all see.

Chariots of Fire.

10. Recommend an (art) book we should all read. Tell us why?

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, because it opens the reader to possibilities through art making.

11. What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Trusting that everything always works out.

12. The greatest thing I have ever done is….

Sailed from Tahiti to China on a 125 foot boat making TV documentaries for a year. It was a 1907 Danish Lightship which had been refitted with a motor (seemed like something out of a 1957 Chevy) and made seaworthy. It was a motor vessel that had a top speed of perhaps 6 knots downhill so it was the slow experience of a lifetime.

13. Tell us about a project/collection you’re really proud of and why?

My MFA series, “Traveling and Arriving, in Search of Sanctuary” because it helped me to galvanise my painting message and methodology.

14. What’s your favourite Singaporean dish to eat and why?

Chicken rice; it’s easy and relatively healthy.

15. Best advice for getting rid of procrastination?

Take the first baby step.

16. Who is your favourite Instagram artist?

Myself, since I do Instagram so little and know very few artists on it.

17. Which artist should we be looking out for in Singapore?

Angie Tan Burns.

18. Who are your biggest creative influences?

Van Gogh, Monet, Diebenkorn, Chiang Da Chien and Ni Tsan.

19. A place you love to go to, to have some quiet time? (why there?)

My swimming pool as I can exercise and be alone in quiet.

20. Shameless plug for your work or a cause you feel passionately about?


That’s the end of our artist interview.  Have a look at the array of wonderful works that Gregory has produced over the years and get in touch with him at www.gregoryburns.com/artist.

To read another artist interview, click here.

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