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Smoke and Mirrors

© David Drebin

New York City-based photographer and multidisciplinary artist David Drebin presents the “Smoke and Mirrors” solo exhibition that opens next June 29th in the Only Art Club gallery in Hamburg. David Drebin was born in Toronto, Canada, and graduated at Parsons School for Design in 1996. David’s career began in commercial photography and quickly made a name for himself advancing into the world of contemporary fine arts.

He is associated with several important galleries around the world, including Camera Work in Berlin, Fahey/Klein in Los Angeles, Guy Hepner in London, Young Gallery in Brussels, and Contessa Gallery. He has shot international ad campaigns for companies such as American Express and Davidoff and has contributed to magazines ranging from Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, GQ, ELLE, Rolling Stone and National Geographic. He has also made portraits of Charlize Theron, John Legend, Sandra Bernhard, Kevin Bacon and Diane Von Furstenberg . Drebin's first monograph, “Love and Other Stories”, was published in 2007. Since then he has published four more photobooks always released by teNeues, "The Morning After" (2010), "Beautiful Disasters" (2012), “Chasing Paradise” (2015) and “Dreamscapes” (2016).

Epic, imaginative, smart, sexy, elegant, funny and cinematic, are some of the adjectives that often are used to describe his work, but dreamy is possibly the most accurate one. Drebin’s photography leaves open the door that connect our deep wishes with reality, that one that we always try to ignore.

Why did you choose photography?

I didn’t choose photography, it chose me. It became an outlet for my imagination, creating magic in the form of a photograph that stops time.

What is your artistic purpose, do you try to portray reality or to build a new one?

My artistic purpose is to constantly cater to my demanding imagination. Everyone should listen to their inner voice or it may backfire on them one day. Distorting reality and being creative caters to my highly active imagination that never stops asking to be catered to like a child.

How important is the world of dreams in your work and your life attitude?

It’s all about dreams and imagining possibilities. Anticipation, reality and reflection often dictate life for me. My images are almost always about what is about to happen or what just happened.

Women use to play a main role in your work. What do you search in women’s spirit? Is it just an ideal of beauty?

I love dangerous beauty, and love is a dangerous game. Women intrigued and fascinate me in how they can be both nurturing yet dangerous.
Since I am a man and have deep understanding of our needs, I constantly try to understand the complex beauty of a women. Making images with and of them often helps me understand this riddle of danger and beauty, both on the outside and on the inside.

About your photo sculptures, do you think 3D images is the next step in photography?

3D is just another dimension of innovative and creative expression. Over the years, photography has evolved from film to digital and now to 3D printing. Uniqueness has always fueled my drive and I wanted to create a new wave of photography using advanced technology. With the photo sculptures, we go from two-dimensional photographs to three-dimensional 360 degree sculptures a viewer can view at all angles. Whether a camera or a 3D printer, these tools are nothing without the vision and ideas that utilize their means to an end.

Dream, tears, love, desire…it is easy to describe your work as romantic. What is the sense of romanticism in the 21st century?

Never thought about that. I am intrigued (as are most people whether consciously or subconsciously) by love stories and dreaming about the process of "falling in love" and on the contrary, with the reflection of "what just happened exactly?" The work is about all kinds of feelings everyone goes through at some point or another ;)

About your neon installations, love is very present too, but it seems more like the consequence of a lack of communication. What was the intention behind this sentences in neon?

I made the neon installations in order to diversify my portfolio and as a compliment to the photographs. An extension to the family of creativity and imagination. Similar to the images, the neons are disarmingly blunt and intensely intimate, mostly with an underlying theme of “love” or “love gone wrong.” These pieces illuminate hidden aspirations and secret thoughts of the femmes fatales who inhabit the elusive world of my photographs, and articulate many truths that are often imagined yet not always shared.

One of your series is “Dreamscapes”. How would be your dreamscape right now?

Dreams and dreamy destinations that are imagined and experienced.

How would you describe the works that feature in your current exhibition “Smoke & Mirrors”?

A compilation of works from the past decade that illuminate the concept of “smoke and mirrors.” Love and sex and the promises made or broken. How a person feels during the entire process of courtship including the beginnings and endings of relationships. Nothing is perfect, it’s all just “smoke and mirrors” :)

Could you explain us a dream that you have while sleeping?

Dreaming of being able to fly…only to wake up and realize it was just a dream...

David Drebin . Smoke & mirrors
Exhibition at Only art club, Hamburg
30.06.2017 - 10.09.2017
A selection here

An interview by Juan Carlos Romero
Photo owned by and courtesy of David Drebin
All rights reserved