Work of the Week! WOW! David Hockney – Early Morning

David Hockney
Early Morning
iPad drawing printed on paper
37 x 25 1/2 in.
Edition of 25
Pencil signed, dated and numbered

About the work:

David Hockey is a big deal. Just six months ago, the British Pop artist broke the auction record for a work by a living artist with a $90 million sale at Christies, and at 81 years old, is one of the most innovative artists still working today. Throughout his career, he has never shied away from using different types of mediums to push the boundaries of his artistic expression, making use of color photocopy machines to create original work, or sending an entire body of work for a gallery show via fax.

Approximately a decade ago, Hockney started using a tool familiar to us all to explore the act of drawing: the iPhone. When the iPad became available, he transitioned to that device. Of the switch, he said “I thought the iPhone was great, but this takes it to a new level – simply because it’s eight times the size of the iPhone, as big as a reasonably sized sketchbook.”

This week’s Work of the Week! WOW! is the iPad drawing Early Morning.

After spending about 25 years living in California, the source of inspiration for his famous pool-side paintings, Hockney returned to his native seaside town of Bridlington, on the north/east coast of Britain. It is in Bridlington that he started experimenting with Apple technology and the application called Brushes.

Flowers are a frequent subject of the iPad drawings. John Fitzherbert, Hockey’s partner buys a different bouquet every day – roses, lilies, lilacs – and places them on the windowsill of their bedroom. Early Morning was created at dawn, drawn from the comfort of the artist’s bed, however, the real subject of the work is light and the role the iPad plays in capturing fleeting moments.

Hockey has said that the medium is perfectly suited for the study of light. The color wheel in the app supplies every pigment on demand, making it possible to capture the dawn light rapidly before it shifts. The device’s backlight, has proven to be useful too, allowing the artist to draw at any time of day, even in dark settings, enabling him to work in almost any circumstance. Lastly, the very nature of the medium allows the artist to be able to draw as soon as inspiration hits, without having to worry about having the necessary materials at his immediate disposal.

Hockney’s iPad has effectively replaced the sketch book. In all his suits, the artist has always requested that his taylor insert a large internal pocket, which in the past, would be for a sketch book, but now holds his electronic device. For an artist who is so inspired by the outdoors, the tool enables Hockney to work in “plein air” easily and efficiently.

David Hockney is a big deal. He is an innovator, unafraid to experiment and explore the technologies at his disposal. He has said “I just happen to be an artist who uses the iPad, I’m not an iPad artist. It’s just a medium. But I am aware of the revolutionary aspects of it, and it’s implications.”

WOW – Work Of the Week – David Hockney “Hat On Chair”

Hat on Chair

Hat On Chair, from The Gedzahler Portfolio
Etching aquatint
29 1/2 x 22 3/8 in.
Edition of 100

Pencil signed, dated and numbered

About This Work:

David Hockney is considered not only an important contributor to the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, but also one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

During his artistic career, Hockney has produced a wide range of artworks making use of several techniques, but he has always worked on portraits. From 1968, and for the next few years, he painted friends, lovers, and relatives. 

This is the case of Henry Geldzahler. Henry Geldzahler was the first curator of 20th-century art at the Metropolitan Museum and New York City’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. His personal relationships with many of the artists selected for his exhibitions gave him special insight into their works. Andy Warhol himself produced a 90-minute film consisting nothing more than Geldzahler smoking a cigar. His written work focused exclusively on contemporary artists and much of his writing is more criticism than art history.

Hockney’s Hat On Chair is one of ten works in the The Geldzahler Portfolio, published in 1998. Other artists that contributed to this portfolio are Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, David Salle, and Frank Stella among others. Dennis Hopper even contributed a photograph of Geldzahler, Warhol, and Hockney smoking.

Hockney’s Hat On Chair is one of the most interesting. It is an etching of a Panama hat and bow tie on a chair. Hockney often painted chairs. To Hockney, the Panama hat and bow tie represented the most iconic images Henry Geldzahler, so he preferred to realize such a portrait instead of a “regular” face. In this sense Hockney’s own presence is implied here, since this very personal way to portrait Henry Geldzahler suggests the artist’s unique point of view and sensitivity.