Category Archives: We Question – They Answer

I have met John McKie.  From first impressions he seems friendly, calm and focused.  This is obviously a lie.


John McKie shows a scrappy anxiety surrounding his words and pictures.  His work gives off the impression of a frustrated  madman  (or genius, let’s face it, there is very little difference betwixt the two).  I can imagine him, pacing the walls of his Satre cell (oh, hark at me and my 18 year old self), sharing his compact abode with a widescreen television the size and breadth of Buster Blood Vessell  (before his weight loss) which is constantly showing the methane emissions of ITV2 in all its “My Life in Essex Matchmaking” entirety.  Therefore his mind, needing to escape the humdrum celebratory jargon would lead him to the frantic scribbles on paper scraps, card, wife and anything that he can lay his twitchy hands on, and tardaah, an artist is born!


McKies’ work is quirky and funny, thought provoking and easy to relate to.  He takes a mighty Booth shot at politics, religion, the colour orange and cheese sandwiches.  His art is not pretentious  and no real celebrities where harmed or maimed whilst drawing, which is a great pity.

So, before I go back to watching “Jeremy Kyle” on demand (yes, really), here are some Questions that have been answered by the man in question (and answered) …

1. Where do you get your inspiration from (said the wise man)?

I get my inspiration from the media mostly. How the world is presented to us by mostly entities who have a vested interest in us thinking in certain ways and doing certain things. It seems like on the whole our thoughts are directed to fit an agenda and an interesting and for me, sad part of this is that mostly people don’t see it, although many do. I believe very little of what I hear, see or read in our media and it drives me nuts, and I mean, bad nuts. War for profit ran by psychopaths, mindless celebrity stuff to keep our tiny minds occupied, three news stories per day to keep us talking and arguing between ourselves, propaganda, censorship, political correctness to control our thoughts. A lot of my time I’m on a bit of a knife edge, it makes me despair sometimes and laugh at others.  I don’t hold out a lot of hope for us as a species, most of the people who rise to positions where they can decide the fate of others are destructive and lack empathy.  They are power mad psychopaths.  I think that will be our downfall.  The people that I draw are products of this system.  See, I’m quite serious. 🙂


2. Have you met any of the celebrities that you have defaced in the name of art?

No but I enjoy taking the mickey out of them sometimes.  At one time though I used to cut people’s hair and Haircut 100, Anthony Newley, Greg Norman, Viv Nicholson (spend spend spend Viv), Buzz Aldrin, Nick Straker, Clair Torry from Dark Side of The Moon album, Prefab Sprout all had me on their head at one time or another.  I was quite good at doing hair, I had magazine front covers and stuff like that.  I can’t remember who I was then.


c. A penny for Peter Andre? Isn’t that a bit steep in this time of recession?

Okay maybe I was a bit harsh on that one.  2p then.


3. What is the best compliment you have received?

Somebody called me The Gorgeous John McKie on Facebook a little while ago.  Two girls friended me on Facebook too recently and wanted me to run off with them, that was a great compliment but I had to block them in the end because it got too annoying.  Spend Spend Spend Viv asked me out in about 1984.  Somebody said that I suited my glasses and last year someone told me that they liked my shoes.  I think that’s about it.  I get a lot of very nice compliments about my pictures which gives me confidence.


3.3 And the worst?

People sometimes tell me that I look like Grant Mitchell but he always makes grunt noises and puts on a tough face and voice.  I never put on a tough face.  I’ve tried a few times but I always forget.  Someone called my drawings trash once and that took a bit of getting over until I realised that his were unbelievably bad.


i. Da Vinci versus John McKie. Who would win at thumb war?

This is a tough one because Da Vinci was very, very well known for the strength of his thumbs.  I think it would probably be a draw.

*. What are you having for tea tonight?

A cheese sandwich followed by a large piece of wood.

(Tombola). Will there be any leftovers?

That is hard to predict, but I very much doubt it.


Mrs H would like to give Mister McKie a great big one for taking time to answer all of the above.

If you would like further information with regardments to the man himself, please click on the following link:-



Helena Maratheftis alias Thefty is a “self proclaimed neon-and-rhinestones kind of girl”.  Her works are bright, bold, quirky and very current.  She owns a thick black pen and quite frankly she is not afraid to use it!  The Emporium caught up with the Ms Maratheftis and asked her a few questions with regards to everything!  Her answerings are as follow …

Ms Maratheftis – or should I say Mother Nylon! Put down the black marker pen! We have you surrounded!

How have things changed since your first blog opening gambit (posted  on 17th Feb 2009)?  Let me jog your memory …

Hello there, Thefty here.

The point of this blog is to get my artwork further than my bedroom walls. I plan to show new stuff that I am working on, as well as old pieces that never saw the light of day, bless ‘em.

Back in 2009, I was at the very beginning of my creative career. Art was something I did on the side, as a very intense hobby with occasional paid work. These days I have the luxury of working on creative things all day.

“Oh No” –  Oh yes we say!  The first offering of Thefty art on the Helena’s blog.

What does “Thefty” mean?

Thefty is derived from my surname, MaraTHEFTIs. It started as a nickname from a good friend, and I liked it so much that I use it as an artistic alias.

“Black Irises” – Self Portrait

What is your favorite medium (and we don’t mean Derek Acorah)?

For illustrations, I love black pens and Photoshop. On canvas, however, I go wild with fluoro markers, rhinestones, and bright acrylic paint. I really love colour and pattern.

Mr Acorah borrows a pen from Thefty to enable him to draw a moustache and glasses on his larger twin brother.

Can you remember the first piece of art you sold (and no, family members do not count)?

Of course! I got paid £20 to design a flyer for drum’n’bass club night in Oxford! That was in 2006, when I was a student. I was very excited.

Twenty pound? The Emporium would have offered you Twenty one pound fifty pence and a pair of second-hand earplugs.

Say the world was your canvas and you could create anything on any scale and anywhere (thank goodness one has run out of “any” examples) what would you do?

The list is a very long one. One ambition is to use my skills to raise awareness and funds for important scientific and environmental issues. I’m an artist, but I have two science degrees from uni (unusual, I know). I feel like I’d be well qualified to give science the makeover it deserves! Science is cool, kids.

Miss H’s shamefully poor attempt to plug her favourite band to Ms Maratheftis – one can only apologise.

How many blogs have you got up and running at the mo?

Two! My art blog ( and my photography/inspiration blog, TOP 5 (

Who did you have a crush on in your youth?

Trent, the character from the MTV cartoon ‘Daria’. And Leonardo DiCaprio, of course.

The young Da Vinci – He may be easy on the eye – but he ruined “The Beach” and one blames him personally for that.

And finally, if you could turn back (as Cher once warbled) what words of wisdom and wonderment would you share with your younger self?

Not much. I’d just offer reassurance along the lines of ‘keep doing what you’re doing, it’s going to work out fine’. I think the older me is the one that could do with some advice! Ha!

“Still Young”

If you’d like to see more of Helena’s work (and the Emporium suggests “Yes”,  you do – and so you should) please be a-clicking on the following links …

For Helena’s portfolio

For Thefty blog

And for purchasing your very own Thefty print or even original

The Emporium gives a great big fuchsia thumbs up to the quite brilliant Ms Maratheftis and wishes her the very best of luck and success with regards to the future of her artistic creativeness!

Images © Helena Maratheftis