Q + A: David Ward

Obsessed with the art of storytelling, David Ward’s multidisciplinary practice ebbs and flows through genre and medium.

How do you describe your art practice?

I’m a filmmaker predominantly, but maybe it’s more accurate to say I’m a multidisciplinary artist, or just a maker of things in general. Typically, my work is quite direct, visceral and melancholy, and it tends to fall into an ambiguous space between the grotesque and the beautiful. I’m absolutely obsessed with the human body and face, so they tend to be my go-to subject matter.

You are a writer, director and painter. How does this all fit into your wider art practice?

It all fits very neatly. There’s a lot of overlap between all the different things I do. A problem I’m having in a script could be resolved as I’m pursuing a painting, or vice versa. I don’t compartmentalise any of it either. I want all the different disciplines to bleed into one another in new and unexpected ways.

When and how did you first fall in love with art?

I didn’t fall in love with art so much as I fell in love with the art of storytelling. I genuinely believe that stories are an essential food for the soul – whether told in the form of film, song, dance, painting or anything else – and so that’s where my love of art emanates from.

What’s your studio like?

It’s hardly a studio at all! It’s more like the living room of my apartment and has many functions: living, dining, writing desk, editing suite, painting studio. I work seven days a week and most days I’m up and working by 9am and finishing up by about 12am. I have to be very disciplined about where I put my priorities, which is tricky since I’m a curious bugger and get quite easily distracted.

What materials do you use?

I’ve always been a big believer in working with what you have around you, so I work with whatever I can get my hands on – everything from house paint, sand, dust and dirt to cigarette ash and blood. Being self-taught, I have more-or-less zero regard for how things should traditionally be done, and instead I’ll just try things out until something sticks or feels right for the piece.

What have you been working on recently?

I’m currently in pre-production for my debut feature film, a psychological horror/thriller shooting in mid-2021. I’m working with several different collaborators on various film, dance and art projects, and I’m always continuing to expand my body of work as a painter.

If you were to have dinner with 3 people in the art world, dead or alive, who would they be? 

Francis Bacon, David Cronenberg, and Pina Bausch.

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