Printer Friendly

In conversation with David Hockney.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Charlie Scheips, a friend and associate of David Hockney and curator of Fresh Flowers, chatted with the artist at the ROM on October 19, 2011.

Charlie Scheips: David, you've been experimenting with different technologies and different printing methods for many years. What led you to the iPad?

David Hockney: I've always argued that artists have always used technology. I mean a brush is technology, pencils are technology. Picture-making things--artists will always use them.

CS: I think there is a misconception that you have abandoned traditional methods of making images for the iPad ... but I think people will see that it's not about abandoning anything, it's still about the act of drawing, the act of looking.

DH: Well, you know, I began drawing on an iPhone just as a novelty at first. But when you've done 300 drawings on it, you realize that it's a body of work. And I realized as well that it was a rather good new medium, fast actually.

CS: The spontaneity of it--talk about that a little bit.

DH: I'd drawn on a computer first in the '80s I think, but it was a bit slow. And any draftsman is interested in speed because there's a great deal to be gained in it. If you think of Rembrandt drawings, and I admire Rembrandt drawings enormously, you can see these are drawn quite fast. But to draw in colour fast is a lot less easy.

I was going to make a big work depicting the arrival of spring in little paintings. But in January I took the iPad and I started drawing ... It turned out to be a great medium for this, very good for recording such subtle changes ... You could capture winter light, for instance, on the iPad in a few seconds, a palate that even in watercolour would take you two minutes.

CS: Also you've been able to use the iPad in other ways ...

DH: I'm only interested in picture-making technology actually. I never did e-mail until I got the iPhone. I'm very bad at answering mail, I don't bother really. I can be kind of rude in that way. I'm not rude to people's faces but--

CS: Well you were to me. Remember when I had a BlackBerry. What did you tell me?

CS/DH in unison: That was for secretaries.

DH: I'm not that social. I don't mind if I'm never invited back. I'm a smoker, they don't like that. But I don't care, I'm perfectly happy at home actually.

CS: I think, David, a lot of people say the jury is out because they can't put a monetary value on what's going on ... But you do know that there is something subversive about what you are doing.

DH: Yeah, there is, and I like that. I mean, I don't mind being subversive. We did point out I couldn't figure out how you could sell them, or do anything. But that didn't put me off. I think you should push it more, explore more. Actually I never understood the questions of, you know, can you make art on the iPad? You can make art with anything, can't you?

CS: Years ago you had a quote when people asked about computer art. You said, "Well you wouldn't call it 'pencil art.'"

DH: I never understood the phrase "digital art" actually much. You've only got art really! There's only art.

CS: We have a question from the audience: "Have your ideas about the camera obscura and the practices of artists gained general acceptance yet?"

DH: I have no idea actually. There is a new book coming out on Caravaggio written by Whitfield. He agrees with me about the optics. He points out that Caravaggio made no drawings. So how were his paintings constructed? I admit for years I'd looked at Caravaggio and it never occurred to me that optics could have been involved, but when I got involved with optics, with the camera lucida, it made me see a lot of things. You begin to see seams that you didn't see before. It's interesting. I always say none of us see the same things, because we see with memory.

David Hockney's Fresh Flowers: Drawings on the iPhone and iPad is on in the Institute for Contemporary Culture's Roloff Beny Gallery until January 1,2012.
COPYRIGHT 2011 Royal Ontario Museum Governors
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Scheips, Charlie
Publication:ROM Magazine
Article Type:Interview
Date:Dec 20, 2011
Words:723
Previous Article:Cultivating beauty.
Next Article:ROM acquires the field sketch Fishing by Torch Light: a rare example of Paul Kane's work in oil on paper.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters