Is a Hockney painting still a Hockney painting when it’s created on an iPad?

David Hockney’s latest exhibition, A Bigger Picture, is made up of  more than 150 colourful landscapes of the Yorkshire countryside, 51 of which are blown up prints created using an iPad app.

David Hockney Winter Timber, 2009

Source: © David Hockney Photo credit: Jonathan Wilkinson

David Hockney Winter Timber, 2009

Printed on paper, the iPad pieces, catchily titled The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011, hang in the Royal Academy’s largest gallery, complementing a huge oil painting spanning 32 canvases.

David Hockney Winter Timber, 2009

Source: Courtesy of the artist © David Hockney Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

David Hockney Winter Tunnel with Snow, March, 2006

Marco Livingstone, curator of the exhibition, says that Hockney has been using the technology frequently since he discovered that pictures made on the iPad could be enlarged to three metres in size without pixelation or a change in colour.

David Hockney The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)

Source: Courtesy of the artist © David Hockney Photo credit: Jonathan Wilkinson

David Hockney The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)

Although limitless copies of the iPad prints can be made, each picture has only been printed out once. Livingstone says that they could be printed out more times in the future, meaning that they could be exhibited in a number of galleries worldwide at once.

David Hockney The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)

Source: Courtesy of the artist © David Hockney

David Hockney The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) – 2 January iPad drawing printed on paper

Hockney is so keen on the iPad that another room hosts five of the devices, showing 15 of the works Hockney used them to create.

The British artist has never been afraid to experiment with technology, playing with fax machines and photography in the 80s. In fact, alongside the iPad prints at the Royal Academy, he is also exhibiting digital video work.

David Hockney Nov. 7th, Nov. 26th 2010, Woldgate Woods, 11.30 am and 9.30 am  Film still

Source: Courtesy of the artist © David Hockney

David Hockney Nov. 7th, Nov. 26th 2010, Woldgate Woods, 11.30 am and 9.30 am Film still

Just as his large oil paintings are presented on grids of multiple canvases; nine digital screens simultaneously show videos of  different parts of the same scene to create one image.

Mainly close ups of leaves in the wind, or country roads in various seasons, Hockney filmed the works using nine digital cameras set in a grid which he attached to his car while driving slowly.

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture will run from 21 January – 9 April at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London W1J

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Comments
  • Derek Grierson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Okay, first, which cave have you folks been living in for the last twenty years digital art has been practised?

    Second, why are we still having this infantile fixation on whether stuff is or isn’t art? Surely the question to ask is: is it any good?

  • Amy November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I didn’t think anyone was questioning whether it’s art Derek, but rather is it painting…I would call it drawing instead, but that is just me.

  • RitaSue Siegel November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It is art, of this I have no doubt. Hockney has always been an inspiration. I just think the author of the question has no imagination-since when does an artist have to produce a painting for h/her output to be considered important. Hockney has always dabbled in a variety of media, including using Polaroids to create works of art. Some of the earliest art works were prints–remember the pool pictures? He has also designed sets for opera, the finals probably painted by others. Regardless of the scale or medium, this man is a treasure who demonstrates that he can make art with whatever he choses to make an image. (In my opinion, of course.)

  • mario minichiello November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    NO, the digital takes away the touch, the interface replaces the human signature or mark, The precision of vector tools and mathematically coded colours of tone and line’ which removes the Serendipity of intermixing of colours and interactions judgements, (what Gombrich termed as the artists Schemata: “making and matching”) in the end it looks like one of my students ‘doing an impression of Hockney. Sorry David, x

  • Roger Cummiskey November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It is my opinion that Hockney is an artist first and foremost. We are happy to call everything from cakes through dry cleaning, dance, performance, installation, photography, video and so on Art. Hockney has and continues to lead the way and show by example the possibilities with or without a paintbrush. Rock on David! lots of people are paying attention!

  • Charles Curry-Hyde November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I have been using an iPad and Brushes app for a year or more and no, it isn’t vector based and i am making very similar marks to those i make with a pen. The really interesting thing is making marks that are innately about the medium and not pretending to be another (painting for example). Hockney seems to have achieved that. They look like what they are. The great thing i find is that the iPad is more about “mixing and matching” as each mark can float on its own and coalesce from a distance.

  • Betsy November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    for Nancy!

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