Contessa Gallery Discusses Dan's Cover Artist David Drebin
Our 2023 Labor Day cover of Dan’s Papers comes to us from Contessa Gallery in Southampton, the longtime partner and “star-maker” of internationally renowned photographer and multidisciplinary artist David Drebin.
Here, gallery owner/founder Steve Hartman enlightens us to the meaning behind this week’s cover art, “Swept Away,” discusses Drebin’s impressive career and makes note of Drebin’s latest exhibition at Contessa Gallery, Flirting with Danger.
Contessa Gallery’s Steve Hartman on David Drebin
Can you tell our readers about this week’s cover art by David Drebin, and how is “Swept Away” representative of the artistic voice found in Drebin’s portfolio?
Taken in the heart of Beverly Hills, this image had long been a vision for Drebin — a portrayal of a girl elegantly “Swept Away” over the city’s rooftops. This artwork not only highlights his photographic expertise but also features a rich color palette, intensifying the visual impact of his composition and lending his work instant recognizability.
For Drebin, it is always about the moment before and the moment after the moment itself. In Drebin’s world, the titles are more than mere labels — they are threads of emotion that intertwine with the artwork itself. The dreamlike scene against the iconic Beverly Hills landscape amplifies the artwork’s allure, making it a prized gem within his portfolio.
What are key identifiers that define Drebin’s photography style, and how do his prints stand out from other art photographers?
Drebin’s work often reflects a cinematic influence, employing dramatic lighting, dynamic compositions and cinematic scope. This allows his prints to be filled with a sense of drama and emotion, resembling freeze-frames from a captivating movie scene. Emotions play a central role in his photography. Whether it’s romance, longing or intrigue, his prints resonate with viewers on an emotional level, forging a deeper connection with his audience.
Drebin has his own unique highly recognizable style across multiple mediums. People all over the world call us requesting a “Drebin,” as I have been with him since the beginning of his art career, which took off after Elton John purchased many of his works, and we started exhibiting his work at major art fairs.
When did Contessa Gallery’s relationship with Drebin officially begin, and how has his status in the art world evolved since the gallery first acquired his work?
Our partnership with David Drebin has been an extraordinary journey that commenced in 2005. Over the years, this collaboration has flourished, becoming a testament to our commitment to his exceptional artistry.
Our dedicated efforts have led us to prominently showcase his works at every art fair we’ve participated in since our collaboration’s inception, including the prestigious Art Miami during the revered Art Basel week for an impressive span of 16 years.
We take immense pride in being at the forefront of presenting his diverse range of artistic expressions, including photography and beyond. Our deep-rooted connection with his work has enabled us to cultivate an extensive and global clientele who have come to recognize us as the foremost authorities on the artistry of David Drebin.
What would you say is one of the most impressive accolades or achievements of Drebin’s career so far?
Shortly after he graduated from Parsons School of Design at The New School in 1996, David Drebin swiftly ascended to international prominence. His photographs adorned the pages of esteemed publications such as Elle, GQ, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, marking a continuous presence that showcased his remarkable talents.
Ever evolving his talents, Drebin was destined for stardom and we have been the “star-maker” according to David in a recent interview.
We’re really proud to have pushed Drebin to try out new artistic mediums and to be the ones who first introduced neons, lightboxes, sculptures, diamond dust prints and now the new Lenticular collection at art fairs. This diverse progression is a testament to his ceaseless innovation, mirrored by our unwavering partnership.
One of Drebin’s most impressive achievements is his globally recognized body of emotionally charged work, showcased in museums, institutions, private collections, art fairs and exhibitions. His distinctive blend of photography, storytelling and unique visual style has firmly positioned him as a sought-after contemporary artist. Drebin’s ability to capture moments of intrigue and sensuality has garnered a strong following.
Exploring themes of romance, desire and human emotion, Drebin’s art creates cinematic dreamscapes that captivate. This visionary approach not only establishes him among his generation’s luminaries but also enriches contemporary art discourse.
Can you tell us about the Flirting with Danger exhibition at Contessa Gallery?
You will just have to come to see for yourself, but we are thrilled to unveil the latest gem in David’s repertoire: his newest book, Flirting with Danger. This exquisite collection features a captivating cover piece titled “Risky Landing,” a visual wonder that encapsulates the heart-pounding landing strip in St. Barths.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?
Well, we look forward to seeing you this weekend with the opening on Thursday night catered by the Michelin-Star team at Caviar Russe. Our lucky VIP patrons will have to be ready to embark on a wild artistic journey with us at our Art Deco landmark gallery right in the heart of Southampton. This event promises an immersive experience, celebrating both art and the artist behind it.
The Captivating Art and Culinary Extravaganza: Opening Night of Flirting with Danger by David Drebin event on Thursday, August 31 may be exclusive to VIPs, but all are welcome to explore the exhibition September 1–17 at Contessa Gallery (1 Pond Lane, Southampton). For more information, visit contessagallery.com.