website: http://www.hockneypictures.com – NB strict copyright so videos only are shown here
Barringer, T., Devaney, E., Drabble, M., Gayford, M., Livingstone, M. & Salomon, X. F. 2012. David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, London, Royal Academy of the Arts.
Hudson, T. 2004. Hockney’s Pictures, Thames & Hudson.
Stevens, C. & Wilson, A. (eds.) 2017. David Hockney, London: Tate Enterprises.
Hockney is important for many aspects of my illustration work:
- interest in perspective and bending the rules
- exploration of colour
- use of photography, video and collage
- use of iPad and other digital media
Use of perspective
Hockney is particularly interested in the process of seeing. This includes his examination of use of one-point perspective by ‘old masters’, and particularly the more isometric perspective used in Chinese scroll art.
Use of colour
Hockney has often experimented in his paintings with brilliant and vibrant colour combinations as in exhibitions at the Tate Britain and Royal Academy.
Born with synesthesia, Hockney sees synesthetic colours in response to musical stimuli. This does not show up in his painting or photography artwork, but is a common underlying principle in his designs for stage sets for ballet and opera—where he bases background colours and lighting on the colours he sees while listening to the piece’s music.
The “joiners” : photocollages
Photographs do not see space. We see space. Without vanishing points
In the early 1980s, Hockney began to produce photo collages, which he called “joiners”, first using Polaroid prints and subsequently 35mm, commercially-processed color prints. Using Polaroid snaps or photolab-prints of a single subject, Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. An early photomontage was of his mother. Because the photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, one of Hockney’s major aims—discussing the way human vision works. Some pieces are landscapes, such as Pearblossom Highway #2, others portraits, such as Kasmin 1982, and My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982.
Creation of the “joiners” occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses. He did not like these photographs because they looked somewhat distorted. While working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles, he took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. On looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer moved through the room. He began to work more with photography after this discovery and stopped painting for a while to exclusively pursue this new technique. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its ‘one eyed’ approach, however, he returned to painting.
In December 1985, Hockney used the Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that allowed the artist to sketch directly onto the screen. Using the program was similar to drawing on the PET film for prints, with which he had much experience. The resulting work was featured in a BBC series that profiled a number of artists.
Since 2009, Hockney has painted hundreds of portraits, still lifes and landscapes using the Brushes iPhone and iPad application, often sending them to his friends. His show Fleurs fraîches (Fresh flowers) was held at La Fondation Pierre Bergé in Paris. A Fresh-Flowers exhibit opened in 2011 at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, featuring more than 100 of his drawings on 25 iPads and 20 iPods. In late 2011, Hockney revisited California to paint Yosemite National Park on his iPad. For the season 2012–2013 in the Vienna State Opera he designed, on his iPad, a large scale picture (176 sqm) as part of the exhibition series Safety Curtain, conceived by museum in progress.
David Hockney’s portraits in crayon, ink, water colour and paint show an amazing sensitivity in treatment and line.
In October 2006 National Portrait Gallery in London organized one of the largest ever displays of Hockney’s portraiture work, including 150 paintings, drawings, prints, sketchbooks, and photocollages from over five decades. The collection ranged from his earliest self-portraits to work he completed in 2005. Hockney assisted in displaying the works and the exhibition, which ran until January 2007, was one of the gallery’s most successful.