David Hock­ney and his do­mes­tic scenes

Many con­sider the artist David Hock­ney as the most in­flu­en­tial living painter. The Bri­tish artist, who be­longs to the Pop move­ment of the 1960s, stands alone, as he loves shat­ter­ing rules, con­fus­ing pro­por­tions, dis­re­gard­ing per­spec­tive and play­ing with c

ArabAd - - ART - By Mona Iskdan­dar

While us­ing the fig­u­ra­tive style of Pop artists and the lan­guage of ad­ver­tis­ing, Hock­ney tries dif­fer­ent media, brush, roller, cam­era, com­puter, tablet, smart phone, film and video. At 80, he is still paint­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing with new tech­niques. “The most cel­e­brated Bri­tish artist work­ing today,” “Bri­tain’s great­est living painter,” “one of the most pop­u­lar and in­flu­en­tial Bri­tish artists,” as he is of­ten la­belled, has dare and flair.

Hock­ney was born in 1937 into a work­ing class fam­ily in York­shire, north­ern Eng­land in the in­dus­trial city of Brad­ford. At six­teen, he en­tered the ‘Brad­ford School of Art’, and in 1959, he went to Lon­don to study at The Royal Col­lege of Art. The R.C.A. de­cided not to let him grad­u­ate in 1962 be­cause he would not write a dis­ser­ta­tion, ar­gu­ing that he should be judged on his art, not his writ­ing, and in protest, he made a draw­ing, call­ing it ‘The Diploma’. The Royal Col­lege of Art, known for its rigid­ity, changed its reg­u­la­tion and granted him the diploma.

In 1964, Hock­ney trav­elled to Los An­ge­les for the first time. This trip marked the be­gin­ning of a new pe­riod in his work, as he en­joyed the bright light, the strong sun and the lav­ish life-style. The fol­low­ing few years he stayed in the U.S. but jour­neyed ex­ten­sively around Amer­ica and Europe. He did some of his best works dur­ing this pe­riod, in­clud­ing the swimming pool se­ries and the Cal­i­for­nia land­scapes. His subjects were mainly de­rived from his sur­round­ings, his own life and that of his fam­ily and friends. In 1973, he moved to Paris for two years and in 1978 he went back to live in Los An­ge­les.

In Cal­i­for­nia, Hock­ney changed from oil to acrylic paint, a rel­a­tively new medium. Fast dry­ing, it suited the hot weather and the bril­liance of the sun. There, he made his swimming pool se­ries in a re­al­is­tic style,

in vi­brant colours, and with a strong touch of hu­mour. He worked on find­ing ways of de­pict­ing the move­ment of wa­ter on can­vas.

The ‘Splash’ paint­ings show the con­trast of the mov­ing wa­ter with the rigid buildings in the back­ground, the pool edge and div­ing board. Play­ing on con­trasts is one of his tech­niques of ar­ti­fi­cial styli­sa­tion. ‘A Big­ger Splash’, came af­ter ’A Lit­tle Splash’ and ‘The Splash.’ It was much larger than the other two, as he had started paint­ing gi­gan­tic works.

In 2007, Hock­ney made his largest work, ‘Big­ger Trees Near Wa­ter’, painted in his na­tive York­shire re­gion, com­pris­ing 50 in­di­vid­ual pan­els placed next to each other. In 2008, he do­nated it to the Tate Gallery, say­ing that he wanted to give the mu­seum a good paint­ing por­tray­ing a scene from Eng­land.

His por­traits of fam­ily mem­bers and friends are his most in­ti­mate works, com­pris­ing only peo­ple he knew and cared for. The in­ten­sity, in­ti­macy and fa­mil­iar­ity of his por­traits are con­trasted with the ex­pres­sion­less and frozen fig­ures. The L.A. por­traits of the 1960s re­veal the mood and taste of the U.S. dur­ing that pe­riod.

In early 1970, Hock­ney found him­self at a dead end, and said he needed to go beyond his ‘Nat­u­ral­ism’. He started us­ing pho­tog­ra­phy, pro­duc­ing photo col­lages, which he called ‘Join­ers’, made from com­pos­ite patch­work im­ages. He would take pic­tures from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives and with photo col­lage, he worked on get­ting move­ment, like with a swim­mer. This came to him by ac­ci­dent when he put pho­tos next to each other and they looked like they were mov­ing. With the ‘Join­ers’, he said that he freed him­self from West­ern per­spec­tive, and can “see the big­ger pic­ture.” Later, he re­alised the lim­i­ta­tions of this tech­nique and went back to paint­ing.

An­other in­no­va­tion was to use the re­verse per­spec­tive, a tech­nique that re­verses the clas­si­cal per­spec­tive, and in­stead of dis­tanc­ing and giv­ing depth to the land­scape, it brings it to­wards the viewer, and the viewer feels closer and more in­volved in the scene.

In 1997, he vis­ited a friend in York­shire, his child­hood home and re-dis­cov­ered its beauty. He still pe­ri­od­i­cally goes to paint its land­scapes.

When the ipad first ap­peared in 2010, Hock­ney taught him­self to draw on it. He says that it is like paint­ing on glass, and laugh­ingly ob­serves that what he does is not in fash­ion any more. Be­fore that, he painted on the iphone, made videos and ex­per­i­men­tal films.

Hock­ney is known to be a hard worker and can eas­ily stand be­hind his easel for six hours. More than once he set a fash­ion or trend, and in 2005, the English fash­ion house Burberry’s made its Spring/sum­mer col­lec­tion around Hock­ney’s style, and in 2012, the de­signer Vivienne West­wood named a che­quered jacket af­ter him. Also, in 2011 he was named one of the 50 most stylish men in Bri­tain, and then listed one of the 50 best dressed of over-50.

My par­ents – 1977

A big­ger splash - 1967

Le Parc des Sourses, Vichy – 1986

Still life on a glass ta­ble – 1971-1972

Ni­chols Canyon – 1980

Pool and steps – 1971

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