Smoker Hockney buys artist’s anti-wellness beer mats

David Hockney has launched an anti-wellness tirade, saying he is "still smoking and enjoying it enormously" at the age of 84.

The renowned painter, who has been smoking since childhood, deemed the concept of wellness "ridiculous".

He spoke out after buying beer mats which pictured a cigarette and an ashtray, stamped with the message "bored of wellness", from a fellow artist.

The opinionated items were created by Mr Bingo, a London-based illustrator, who was shocked at seeing the famous name on his order list.

“I too am bored with wellness, the concept seems ridiculous and too bossy for me, I’m still smoking and enjoying it enormously," said Hockney.

Hockney wrote that he still loved smoking ‘enormously‘

“I have never been to a gym in my life. 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 metres long that shows a whole year in Normandy. Love life.”

The comments emerged in a post by Mr Bingo, a political artist who has gained more than 100,000 Instagram followers for punchy works on topical issues such as hate mail.

Mr Bingo had reached out to the painter asking if he could reveal the story online after noticing his order for his beer mats. He said it was “a really incredible thing” and hailed Hockney as “the world’s greatest living artist”.

‘The French know how to live. They know about pleasure’

It is not the first time Bradford-born Hockney has waded into debates on health matters, especially regarding smoking. In 2019, he left his Los Angeles home of five decades to relocate to Normandy, in France, so that he could eat and smoke at the same time.

“I’d like to just work and paint,” he told the Wall Street Journal at the time. "The French know how to live. They know about pleasure."

He added that having smoked for more than 60 years, “I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non-smoking related illness.”

In May last year, he said that Britain was no longer a “tolerant place” for smokers and criticised “the mean-spirited bossy dreary people” who have driven them out of pubs. He also condemned “ridiculous” images on cigarette packets, in the letter to Mail+.

Hockney rose to become one of the most influential painters of the 20th century with his portraits of Los Angeles swimming pools and collages.

His latest works include daily iPad sketches charting the arrival of spring, which were showcased this year at London’s Royal Academy of Arts.

The global wellness industry is valued at around £3.5 trillion and has boomed with a renewed focus on health during the coronavirus crisis, including nutrition, fitness and even health tourism.

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