david hockney

every time i ambled past the royal college of art there was this huge line of people ..
it never ended…day after day…week after week,it just never seemed to fade…
so yesterday me and my man took a deep breath and finally got in there,resigned to at least a one hour wait outside in the cold…
but then within five minutes, this gorgeous ever so tall girl came over and said she had two tickets to sell cause her friends hadn’t turned up…
she said she’d been walking slowly up and down the line , and picked us out cause we looked her type.
and oddly enough, i had decided to wear brand new jet black corduroy with highly polished chelsea boots for the perfect art gallery moment.
pretentious?… definitely… joyously so.
pretentious people are simply those who have ideas above their station in this life.
without pretense,there would have been no eye liner’d young elvis..or little richard…or david bowie.

before we went into the royal college of art, i gazed at the big blow up flag of hockney with paintbrush in one hand , plus another in the other..
great clothes and shoes,that nudged me into thinking how he has more appeal than most of todays jock-ish pop stars.
he also has a good face..always did..at every stage of his life,he looks fantastic…he fits the skin he’s in.

y’know it’s a great thing to see people do their best work in later years.
this is very very life affirming, cause there are many unhappy uncreative inert folk out there who would attempt to fill your heart with their hopelessness..
there’s a self defeating notion in culture that says we must peak early…and there’s a lot of cases that nearly prove the point,
but for those who stay willing,skills along with sensibilities accumulate over the years, which means later in life they can get work done fast by getting things right quicker…
more importantly they don’t loose the joy or desire to work.
their days have structure with a level of calm for the work to get done.
this surely must be the case with david hockney,cause one thing that blows your mind about that exhibition is the absolute quality and amount of work he’s done for this show…not one frame was weak…  none of it was overshadowed by his early familiar work.

another thing that charms me about his pictures is how effortless they look.
there’s surely a load of technique at work,but it’s downplayed behind an almost childlike stroke.
you get such a sure sense of height,depth and space…and joy.
i guess all that time painting the vast canyons on the west side of america set him up for painting those deep rolling hills of yorkshire too.
then there’s all this charged vivid colour…he uses pink or purple on a road, or blue for a tree, yet it always renders in a convincing way.
he captures billowing wind..light..time of day..season…all very elemental…. never in a boring geography teacher kind of way…it’s as groovy as it gets.

i left that show thinking how photography really set painters free to be interpreters of what they see,rather than feeling any pressure to paint things too literally.
also the way david hockney consolidated a friendly relationship between painting and photography is a clue to the measure of the man…
wide open…wide open to whatever he can use…those other things he’d done using digital video cameras or the ipad were very engaging too..
you could see he even had his own certain ipad stroke from using the little stylus on the glass screen.

as we wondered out past the gift shop selling all the hockney merchandise, i smiled at seeing one of his forest paintings on an otherwise bog standard tray you’d eat your supper off..
and they were selling like hot cakes..just like a rock star sells the t-shirts.
this show will generate millions and millions as it travels around the world in the future.
i’m not afraid to say i do admire the financial power of art…
it’s the biggest fingers up to those small minded money grubbers who trivialize art  … especially during these credit crunch days .

i love how *credit crunch* translated into arty french is *craquement de credit*… it sounds better when you say it that way.

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16 Responses to david hockney

  1. karen says:

    You could write anything and make it a read like the most extravagant dishes ever set in front of a king. I don’t know if you do, but you should, write columns for a pretty damn dollar (pound? ) But even if you write only for yourself and allow me to read them, I’m a happy bird 🙂 x Loved reading this. You are a natural……(nice to get an email to say you’re newly available stalking rites are in, Karen) lol.. I just click, and there you are. I love the photos also. You just are …………grand xx (p.s.- I’ll bet you looked quite smart in those crow black cords and boots.. I missed the photo though..darn it all 🙂 ..xx


    • hi karen..i have a thing about corduroy right now…it makes nice reference to the 1960’s and 1970’s which i feel, apart from this one, are the best decades of my life so far… corduroy is soft and sumptuous ,and yet manages to somehow carry a bit of rock n roll edge too, provided you keep it very clean and don’t wash it in anyway too hot or harsh…black corduroy is for dry cleaners only!…thanks for your kind words…my handwriting is terrible and so the keyboard opened up a whole new world to me…it’s just great fun to write these things,and even more of a kick to know someone as kind as yourself actually read it.


  2. Robert says:

    Love to read your musings…makes my soul smile each time.

    Art renders the current state of affairs trivial when done well. I can see a brilliant painting or hear a wonderful song and get lost in another world.

    Thank you for being so generous.


  3. tim says:

    Here’s to ”being the type”, black corduroy, pretentiousness and middle age…they rock!


  4. nick says:

    i love reading your writing.


  5. Liz Munro says:

    Came across your writing while investigating David Hockney’s ipad blow-ups… having painted & done creative stuff all my life, and now at 73 working/playing on my ipad, I’m very happy to read what you say about artists in their later years. It touches and inspires me that you are so open to
    his new work and have shared your reactions in such an entertaining way. I’d like to read what you have to say about other artists too; what a relief to read your comments instead of the usual academic posturing of the average ‘art critic’. Thank you, and I would love you to see my work


  6. hello liz…i went to hear a singer a few months ago called judy collins..you maybe know of her…she is 72 and her singing would have knocked the socks off ones a third of her age..she had range…perfect pitch..and above all, passion…it really was mind blowing…this charismatic woman with long silver grey hair who didn’t try to hide one year of her age..she owned it… tapped into it ,and was all the more musical and interesting for it…it’s good news to know it’s the same for artists like you…….thank you for writing..so lovely to get messages like yours.


    • Liz Munro says:

      Hi MaryC…Yes, i’ve known of judy collins (now of the gorgeous silver hair) for a long time: your mention of her had me look her up on the net to see what she’s doing now- i see she’s written a book in recent years sharing her grieving/healing experience after her only son’s suicide. The reviews say its an honest, powerful and uplifting piece of writing, especially helpful for people surviving the death of a loved one. One to read, I think… I also discovered that it was joni mitchell who wrote ‘I look at clouds from both sides now’, not judy collins as i had thought…. wow, those lyrics are really something!


      • yes liz..that’s a joni song…yet another artist who let the years inform rather than disadvantage her…judy did write some great songs though….one of my favourite songs ever is a judy collins one recorded by nina simone called ‘my father’…here it is..


      • Liz Munro says:

        Thank you for sending me this beautiful song..I have never heard it before…strangely, my father had passed his dreams of France on to me too, and I found myself flooded with memories…very moving


  7. sonofwalt says:

    Oh, I cannot tell you how delightful it was to have found your blog. Well, actually you found mine, and I am tickled to the pink! I don’t really know what that means, by the way, but it sounds groovy, doesn’t it?

    So glad to have found another avenue to follow your thoughts and your beautiful work.



    • oh yes david.. you’ve definitely got the depth of thought, humour and worldview that would draw the likes of me in. the internet is a wild thing…it takes a while,but after a series of years i find i’ve filtered a manageable amount of subscriptions that i look forward to coming down into my email box. …much love to you and the smiling maestro.


  8. sonofwalt says:

    Deep thanks. I will pass that along. After three years, he’s moving in next week, by the way, though he tends to live here a few nights a week already. And also, I did want to say how impressed I was by Mr. Hockney’s paintings. These are strikingly beautiful. One puts me in mind of the hills below the Killynether wood.


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