A Bigger Message. Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford. With 161 illustrations. Published by Thames and Hudson.
David Hockney is living proof that a great draughtsman can draw on anything. Of course, Hockney is much more than a good draughtsman. But his drawing has always been beautiful. And now in his 70’s Hockney’s skills are – if possible- better than ever.
His work now spans the gargantuan- hence the title- to the smallest in the form of iPhone and iPad screens.
I remember seeing Hockney’s drawings in an exhibition at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly in the mid 1990s. I was stunned by his drawing ability. It was as good as anything from Picasso and in fact anything from the great hands of artists over the centuries.
Hockney has also always been ready to try something new. His Polaroids in the 1980’s were beautiful. He began a whole new trend in collage using Polaroids which spread quickly to other artists and then inevitably to advertising.
Now his friends get to collect new Hockneys daily as he wakes to see the sun streaming through his bedroom window.
In the latest Hockney book, his close friend, Martin Gayford talk together on art over a period of ten years discussing everything from seeing more clearly to scale- and a huge scale it is- to photography and drawing to theatre and lighting.
It is a very easy read with its light conversational style but the content is riveting. Here is a man who is still at his peak trying new things every day. His experiments with scale have yielded some extraordinary results. A bigger Grand Canyon at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra measures 6’9”x 24’6” and consists of 60 canvasses. His latest, Bigger Trees Near Warter is much larger at 15 feet x 40ft hig
h and consists of 50 canvasses.
Hockney loves painting around his home in Yorkshire having moved back to England after years in the bright sunshine and swimming pools of Los Angeles.
It’s a great relaxing read as it’s really just a series of interesting conversations between friends. And in the process it is a wonderful insight into the life of one of the great painters of the modern era.
Read The Guardian’s review…