david hockney

I like David Hockney’s art. The 72 year old Briton has taken to painting again, something he hasn’t done in years. And it’s exciting. But there’s also something amazing he’s doing. He’s painting things like this: hockney_iphone_art_3

What’s amazing is that here is how he’s painting it:


That’s right! He’s doing some of his paintings on his iPhone. Crazy! It seems all he needs is the aid of cigarettes and this trusty device to produce beautiful things, like this:


Some people might think this is further evidence of the death of humanity. I just think it’s cool. Thanks to the New York Review of Books, for making me aware of this.There’s an interesting article there, with more pictures. It reports,

Over the past six months, Hockney has fashioned literally hundreds, probably over a thousand, such images, often sending out four or five a day to a group of about a dozen friends, and not really caring what happens to them after that. (He assumes the friends pass them along through the digital ether.) These are, mind you, not second-generation digital copies of images that exist in some other medium: their digital expression constitutes the sole (albeit multiple) original of the image.

Definitely worth a read. I want to get on Hockney’s list of “friends” that get sent these images. Apparently, so does Lawrence Weschler, author of the piece.

I asked Hockney whether he’d mind my sharing some of these images with a wider audience across a printed medium, and he said, not really, he more or less assumed that the pictures would one by one find their way into the world. “Though it is worth noting,” he adds, lighting one of his perennial cigarettes, “that the images always look better on the screen than on the page. After all, this is a medium of pure light, not ink or pigment, if anything more akin to a stained glass window than an illustration on paper.” He continues:

“It’s all part of the urge toward figuration. You look out at the world and you’re called to make gestures in response. And that’s a primordial calling: goes all the way back to the cave painters. May even have preceded language. People are always asking me about my ancestors, and I say, Well there must have been a cave painter back there somewhere. Him scratching away on his cave wall, me dragging my thumb over this iPhone’s screen. All part of the same passion.”

2 thoughts on “david hockney”

  1. Interesting footnote to this story – apparently Hockney’s lawyers demanded retraction of a web story in May that he was painting on his iPhone, because he was not in fact painting on his iPhone but on his desktop computer (which has incidentally been an unremarkable way to produce graphic art for some years now).

    It seems that since then he has started to actually use his iPhone.


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