David Hockney and the iPad

Arrival of Spring No. 1 by David Hockney, 2011 oil on eight canvases

Age has not hindered the British artist David Hockney in his handling of new age of technology. So much so that these days he is addicted to his iPhone and to his iPad. The art of the 74-year-old is certainly benefiting from the progress Apple is making with its technology. He uses Apple’s Brush app as a medium to capture fast changing light and conditions of a scene, which enables him to paint whenever and wherever he wants to.

Although the iPad has not yet completely replaced his sketchbook, it offers a much easier way to paint, because he does not need to take anything with him. Hockney’s artworks are trying to capture nature and other objects in the best light, which has led him to travel to different countries in search of finding places with the best light. His iPhone has made it possible for him to start painting the second he sees a setting lit with optimal conditions. When he has first started to use his iphone to create art in 2008, he sent his digital paintings to his friends, curators and dealers, and thereby encouraged them to get an iPhone and later an iPad for themselves. Up to 350 paintings can be saved on his iPhone at one time, and offers Hockney enough space to save his work, he has revealed that he prefers the iPad due to the bigger screen.

Apple’s app is very similar to Microsoft Paint, which was first developed for Windows 1.0. and provides an updated version today. However, Brush offers better features and tools to paint than Microsoft’s programme, which unlike Brush can only be opened with PGN, TIFF, JPEG and GIF. Interestingly, as Microsoft launched a the original computer programme, it could be argued that Apple has copied Microsoft’s software. Viewers of the current exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts can see more than a whole room filled with just Hockney’s iPod artworks. The 12-room exhibition starts off with normal oil and watercolour paintings. In room nine, the visitors see a part of his stunning collection of his iPad artworks. At first sign, it is hard to distinguish normal canvases from his iPad pieces because the difference is only visible if you move closer to the artworks.

Despite his age, Hockney is using new media, such as this, more than many young artists to produce a new form of art, and he is not the only one of the older artistic generation to do so. Susan Murtaugh, Matthew Watkins, and Stef Kardos, and the French art-director at Disney are all using Brushes to paint without getting their fingers dirty. Despite his embrace of such modern ways, Hockney admits that they make him miss the feel of the texture of the paper. He might have lost his strong English accent after spending years moving to and from America, but he says the travel has enabled him to see his home town of Yorkshire with new eyes, which in turn has allowed him to offer society an impressive series of nature artworks, which fascinates the viewers due to his unique way of manipulating colours, perspectives, and space.

Find more out about Hockney’s art:

Apart from playing around with photographs and glass reflections he has also developed a much richer way and closer way to show videos produced by a single-camera:           his Secret Knowledge

Channel 4 interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=fvwp&v=nU24E_HN9zI


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