David Hockney, one of the world’s most successful living painters, is well-known for his recent pivot to artwork made almost exclusively on his iPad and for his curmudgeonly behavior when it comes to lifestyle habits. At 84 years old, Hockney has certainly earned the right to be stuck in his ways, but that doesn’t mean his dispatches on cigarette smoking, one of his favorite pastimes, are any less hilarious (or relatable). Early on in the pandemic, Hockney went so far as to state that smoking cigarettes could provide people with a natural barrier against the coronavirus.
“I’ve smoked for more than 60 years, but I think I’m quite healthy,” Hockney said last year. “How much longer do I have? I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non-smoking-related illness.” This week, an artist who goes by Mr. Bingo on Twitter revealed that Hockney had purchased 10 of his custom-made beermats, each of which reads “Bored of Wellness.” In the center of the beermats is an ashtray containing a single cigarette. Bingo wrote that he asked Hockney if he could share their exchange online, and Hockney replied with a perfectly characteristic letter. “I too am BORED with WELLNESS,” Hockney wrote. “The concept seems ridiculous and too bossy for me, I’m still smoking, and ENJOYING it ENORMOUSLY.”
“I have never been to a GYM in my life,” Hockney continued, clearly picking up steam. “I walk a bit SLOWER and not so far, but I am still working away EVERY DAY. I have a show in Paris of a work 90 meters long that shows a whole YEAR in Normandy. Love LIFE.” Observer contacted Hockney’s representatives to inquire whether the artist would ever consider switching from cigarettes to vaping. We’ll update this post in the event of a response.