Artist Barnaby Barford on his collection of stones, Hoxton’s art shops and Highland park whisky
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My personal style signifier is a buttonhole made from a gold porcelain flower. It’s one of thousands that I used to make Pride (2013), the largest of my mirrored sculpture series exploring the seven deadly sins. davidgillgallery.com
The last thing I bought and loved was a David Shrigley print called Another Task For You. It speaks about our sense of entitlement in a lighthearted way that makes me laugh – and think. Jealous Gallery, 53 Curtain Rd, London EC2 (jealousgallery.com)
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a White Static drawing by Keith Harrison. These colourful, abstract pieces were inspired by the fact that one per cent of the static on our screens comes from light from the Big Bang. I really like the thought process behind them; it’s like taking a peep into the workings of the artist’s brain. keith-harrison.info
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a dark-green Rapha Loopback city jacket. It’s a breathable, windproof, water-resistant cycling jacket with reflective features that fold away – so I can wear it to meetings and galleries. £130; rapha.cc
A recent “find” is Vinoramica, a new, independent wine shop in Highams Park, east London, which specialises in smaller-production wines – and beers – from around the world. The owner, Matt Thomas, is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable. 9B The Broadway, London E4 (vinoramica.com)
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Provence, on a cycling trip with a friend. As we reached the pass on the Col de Perty, we were treated to the most stunning view of the Alps I’ve ever seen – a sight I hope to have etched in my mind for years to come.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a couple of stones my sons picked up at the Venice Biennale last year. I have a collection of rocks and pebbles from places we’ve been, each with a story to tell. These will always remind me of walking round the pavilions with them.
An object I would never part with is my S2L Brompton bike, which I have used every day since I bought it a year ago. It’s fast and fun. From £950; brompton.com
In my fridge you’ll always find a huge piece of Parmigiano Reggiano and a salami from a delicatessen in La Ferrara, Modena, close to my wife Valeria’s parents’ home. We eat the Parmesan in lumps with balsamic vinegar. Salumificio Val Dragone, Via Provinciale Sud 27, 41046 Palagano (+3905-3696 1567)
The artists whose work I would collect if I could are Harland Miller, Jenny Saville, Clyfford Still and Joan Mitchell. If it were ever in my grasp. I’d build a collection of works by many people, starting with paintings by them. Their work invites you to look closer.
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Bologna, a vibrant city steeped in history and culture, with great food and the foothills of the Apennines just outside it for cycling. Climbing the 900-year-old Asinelli tower is essential, as is a trip to the Parco della Montagnola to see the incredible 19th-century concrete sculptures of lions fighting with their prey. I love the covered market, Mercato delle Erbe, where I go for the fresh local pasta, and Michelemma, which has the best pizza. For a night out, I head down to the Pratello area, just outside the old city walls, where the whole neighbourhood comes alive: people move from bar to bar, talking on the streets. Mercato delle Erbe, Via Ugo Bassi 23 (mercatodelleerbe.eu). Michelemma, Via Riva di Reno 60 (ristorantemichelemma.it). Parco della Montagnola, Via Irnerio (montagnolabologna.it). Towers of Bologna, Piazza di Porta Ravegnana
My favourite website is Mixcloud.com, a music site that streams DJ mixes.
My style icon is Mark Cavendish, the road-racing cyclist. He’s one of my heroes and always looks very smart and understated. I’d quite like to look like that if I weren’t covered in paint the whole time.
The best books I’ve read in the past year are George Monbiot’s Out of the Wreckage, Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land and Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger. I’ve been exploring the perceived lack of happiness in major western democracies, the breakdown in community and the damage that competition and individualism are having on society, and these books have been instrumental in providing answers as to why we find ourselves in this position.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Hoxton in London. I have recently started painting, and Atlantis Art Supplies and AP Fitzpatrick are the most wonderful treasure troves of art supplies. Carl Clerkin’s shop All Lovely Stuff sells very simple, elegant and fun wooden products, and the Book Art Book Shop is a wonderful place that celebrates the neverending debate about artists’ books. A full English at E Pellicci is a must too: it’s a proper café that’s been serving full English breakfasts since 1900. All Lovely Stuff, 5 Sunbury Workshops, Swanfield Street (alllovelystuff.com). AP Fitzpatrick, 142 Cambridge Heath Rd (apfitzpatrick.co.uk). Atlantis Art Supplies, Unit 1/Unit 7 Bayford St Industrial Centre (atlantisart.co.uk). Book Art Book Shop, 17 Pitfield St (bookartbookshop.com). E Pellicci, 332 Bethnal Green Rd (epellicci.com)
The best gift I’ve given recently was an Islabike Beinn 20, for my eldest son’s sixth birthday. These bikes are extremely well made with the right size components so that they’re easy to ride – which hopefully means he’ll love being out on his. From £390; islabikes.co.uk
And the best one I’ve received recently is an upcoming trip to Japan. It was a present from my wife for my 40th birthday and we’re planning to go soon. I want to cycle through the hills around Kyoto, visit the temples at Shikoku and see the art island Naoshima.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Orford Saloon, a tapas bar and deli in Walthamstow. The food was simple but completely delicious. We ate so many different dishes, including boquerones [marinated white anchovies], lentejas con chorizo and, my favourite, the perfectly seasoned pulpo a la Gallega [octopus with potatoes and paprika]. There were 35 of us, and sharing dishes meant that we could swap seats and chat with everyone. 32-34 Orford Rd, London E17 (orfordtapas.co.uk)
My favourite room in my house is the sitting room. There’s an open fire, no television and the dark-blue walls are covered in drawings, paintings and books. It’s a haven for looking, reading, thinking – and enjoying a glass or two of sweet, smoky 12-year-old Highland Park Viking Honour whisky. £35; highlandparkwhisky.com
The last music I downloaded was the album DJ Haus in the House by Defected Records. It’s a brilliant mix of house music.
The person I rely on for personal grooming is me. When my hair’s too long, I go to the nearest barber. It’s a hit-and-miss method, but mistakes grow out pretty quickly.
An indulgence I would never forgo is dinner with my family; it is a precious time when we share stories of the day. On Saturdays, we listen to Gilles Peterson and Craig Charles’s Funk and Soul show on Radio 6 Music, so there’s some kitchen dancing too.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a chef. Cooking for other people is one of life’s great pleasures.