We Interview British Artist David Austen on Man Smoking | StrangeLove Festival

1. What did you show at Strangelove Festival in March?

‘Man Smoking’ 2008.

“I had spoken to a man who asked “did I know that Enzo Cucchi is allowed to smoke in any public bar he wishes to in Rome”, flouting the anti smoking laws now commonplace in Europe. I replied that I didn’t know this, thought it daft, certainly untrue and hoped, of course, that it was the opposite.

I began to think that it would be a lovely idea to film Enzo Cucchi smoking in a bar in Rome. It would be a continuation of themes I had explored in two previous moving image pieces I had made, Smoking Moon and Crackers.

I decided that it had to be in black and white, 16mm and shot with a wind-up Bolex camera. It would be called Man Smoking… there is something about film running through a camera, daylight and a man smoking, breathing and thinking that just seems right.”


Behind the Scenes of ‘Man Smoking’ by David Austen

2. What mediums do you work with?

Painting, photography, sculpture, print, drawing, 16mm film and video

3. How do you know when you have completed a work?

Depends on the work

4. How important is the presentation of your work and viewer engagement?

It’s everything.

5. If you could choose to show your artwork in a non-traditional art setting, where would that be?

I have already done that, shown a film in Burns Monument in Edinburgh for instance, there are always magical spaces, indoors and out

6. With the increasing evolution of technology, where do you see film in the next ten years?

It is a shame and a problem that film is increasingly expensive and difficult to process, especially black and white, a double shame as a new hybrid medium has arrived with creating works in film then scanning and projection at the extraordinary quality available today.

Behind the Scenes of ‘Man Smoking’ by David Austen


To see more works visit David Austen’s website here: http://bit.ly/2n6ve8d

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About Ben Austin

Ben Austin studied History of Art at Reading University. He started Catto Contemporary in Shoreditch where he was responsible for helping to launch the careers of several artists and showed Anthony Micallef and Banksy in a curated exhibition entitled ‘Perverse Pop’ back in 2001. Austin has worked at Art Review, before setting himself up as an independent curator and through Austin Enterprises he staged the legendary Frieze opening night show/party entitled ‘Decadence, Decay and the Demimonde’ at Home House in 2007, which featured art on loan from the Saatchi Gallery (Marcus Harvey, Liz Neal and Barry Reigate). He has also curated exhibition at the Blouin Foundation – ‘After Dark’ series, featuring acclaimed artists such as Alice Anderson. He has been on the judging panel for the ‘Young Masters’ prize. More recently he curated ‘Art Britannia’ during Miami Basel featuring a collection of contemporary British artists and acted as the initial curator and advisor the The Dot Project Gallery in Fulham. Ben Austin acts as an art advisor and dealer. He writes for numerous publications including Artlyst and FAD.