22 Oct 2011

David Hockney sees

I recently read a fascinating book that has taught me more about the way a visual artist operates and thinks than any other that I can remember in a long time. The book is called A Bigger Message, Conversations with David Hockney, and the author (who engendered and transcribed the conversations) is Martin Gayford. I strongly recommend anyone interested in painting or any form of graphic art, and not only those who enjoy the work of Hockney, to get hold of this book and read it.


The conversations between Hockney and Gayford, in their various forms, spread over a decade and concern all the periods and multiple aspects of Hockney's work and career, from his work as a student in the 1960's to his current work on landscapes in Yorkshire, via his long spell spent in Los Angeles, and including his work for theatre and opera, his graphic and photographic work and his "paintings" on contemporary Apple supports (i-phone and i-pad), Hockney has been consistently eclectic as to his media, whilst constantly sticking to his insatiable curiosity about how we (he) see(s), and then how this can be transcribed by gestures and marks into something coherent and perceptible by others. He also has investigated the work of other great artists with considerable perspicacity (you can therefore deduct from this comment that I happen to think very highly of Hockney as an artist).

Here are just a few examples of his work, all of which happen to be on the theme of pools and water, with or without swimmers, to whet (or wet) your appetite for more, hopefully. I have deliberately played about with the relative sizes of these images, compared to the originals.


A Bigger Splash, 1967











I will return to some of the many subjects touched upon in this fascinating book very shortly. In the mean time, please read on....