Last modified on 23 August 2014, at 02:02

David Hockney

When conventions are old, there's quite a good reason, it's not arbitrary.

David Hockney (born 9 July 1937) is an English artist. An important contributor to the British Pop Art of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.

QuotesEdit

  • When conventions are old, there's quite a good reason, it's not arbitrary. So Picasso discovered that, as it were, and I'm sure that for him that was probably almost as exciting as discovering Cubism, rediscovering conventions of ordinary appearance, one-point perspective or something. The purists think you're going backwards, but I know you'd go forward. Future art that is based on appearances won't look like the art that's gone before. Even revivals of a period are not the same. The Renaissance is not the same as ancient Greece; the Gothic revival is not the same as Gothic. It might look like that at first, but you can tell it's not. The way we see things is constantly changing. At the moment the way we see things has been left a lot to the camera. That shouldn't necessarily be.
    • From a series of interviews with Marco Livingstone (April 22 - May 7, 1980 and July 6 - 7, 1980) quoted in Livingstone's David Hockney (1981) ISBN 0-500-20291-5 , p. 112
  • Before he did all those lovely line drawings, Matisse would make really detailed charcoal drawings and tear them up. He wouldn't leave them about, he thought of them as working drawings. I understand what he was doing: discovering what's there. And then when you come to use line, if you know what you're looking at, it's much easier to make the line meaningful, to find a linear solution to what you want to depict.
    • From a series of interviews with Marco Livingstone (April 22 - May 7, 1980 and July 6 - 7, 1980) quoted in Livingstone's David Hockney (1981), p. 185
  • What I always longed to do was to be able to paint like I can draw, most artists would tell you that, they would all like to paint like they can draw.
    • From a series of interviews with Marco Livingstone (April 22 - May 7, 1980 and July 6 - 7, 1980) quoted in Livingstone's David Hockney (1981), p. 207
  • I've started painting much more freely, and faster. I think it's working in the theatre that did it. You know what the Glyndebourne scene-painters said about my The Magic Flute? They said they had to wear sunglasses to paint it.
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Naughty Boy," interview with John Mortimer, In Character (1983) ISBN 0-14-006389-7 p.97
  • In one gallery they actually had a notice which said "No Sketching." How obnoxious! I said, "How do you think these things got on the walls if there was no sketching?"
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Naughty Boy," interview with John Mortimer, In Character (1983), p.97
  • Television is becoming a collage — there are so many channels that you move through them making a collage yourself. In that sense, everyone sees something a bit different.
    • Interview with Paul Joyce, New York, November 1985, quoted in Hockney on Photography, ed. Wendy Brown (1988)
If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed...
  • If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed.
    • Interview with Paul Joyce, New York, (September 1986) quoted in Hockney on Photography, ed. Wendy Brown (1988)
  • We live in an age where the artist is forgotten. He is a researcher. I see myself that way.
    • The Observer (London) (9 June 1991)
  • I usually only draw myself in down periods. I do, actually. I suppose that's why I often draw myself looking grim. I just think, "Let's have a look in the mirror." When you are alone and you look in a mirror you never put on a pleasing smile. Well, you don't, do you?
He was a member of CND and a socialist with a rather romantic and naive idea of what Soviet Russia was like, all cornfields and ballet...
  • He [Hockney's father] hardly ever left Bradford. He was a member of CND and a socialist with a rather romantic and naive idea of what Soviet Russia was like, all cornfields and ballet. He would have gone mad for email because he was always sending letters to world leaders — Eisenhower, Mao, Stalin — telling them what was what. I think he imagined the Politburo would hold up his letter and say, "Hold everything, Kenneth Hockney has written again!"
    • Interview with Nigel Farndale, "The talented Mr. Hockney," The Telegraph, (15 November 2001)
  • It sometimes takes a foreigner to come and see a place and paint it. I remember someone saying they had never really noticed the palm trees here until I painted them.
    • Interview with Nigel Farndale, "The talented Mr. Hockney," The Telegraph, (15 November 2001)
  • Interviewer: Love is certainly at the center of tolerance. They're intertwined, in a certain way. It helps you appreciate difference.
    Hockney: Yes. And that's probably why I do portraits. Everybody's different; they look different, and are different. Maybe deep, deep down we're all the same. But on the surface we seem to be different, don't we?
  • With chemical film, it was possible to alter photographs, but you had to be an expert. That's not true any more. The LA Times fired a photographer at the beginning of the Iraq War for editing two shots together. Photography is crumbling. Certainly it is for the newspapers a bit now, isn't it? There will be painting again, absolutely!
I can get excitement watching rain on a puddle... I want life thrilling and rich. And it is. I make sure it is.
  • I'm aware it's now a hostile city [New York City]. I feel I'm in school, actually. There are signs everywhere you don't get in any other city. When you see all the smokers outside a building in New York, I just think the building is full of bad-mannered people who haven't thought, "We'll give them a little room to smoke in." That's what a reasonable person, a person with good manners, would do.
    • Interview with Marion Finlay, "Hockney on ... politics, pleasure, and smoking in public places," FOREST Online (28 July 2004)
  • There's no doubt you smoke to calm yourself. I know I do. That's my decision about how I keep calm. I prefer that to Prozac. In fact I think it's healthier. I couldn't go to another New York party where they're all drinking water and on Prozac and telling you off for smoking.
    • Interview with Marion Finlay, "Hockney on ... politics, pleasure, and smoking in public places," FOREST Online (28 July 2004)
All art is contemporary, if it's alive. And if it's not alive, what's the point of it?
  • Teaching people to draw is teaching people to look.
    • Interview with Jasper Gerard, "Taking the fight to the dreary people," The Sunday Times (London) (2 October 2005)
  • The choice is not between drugs and no drugs, but between illegal drugs and legal drugs. Until the 1920s drugs were legal, why not now? Lots of people are on drugs anyway — it is called medication.
    • Interview with Jasper Gerard, "Taking the fight to the dreary people," The Sunday Times (London) (2 October 2005)
  • How difficult it is to learn not to see like cameras, which has had such an effect on us. The camera sees everything at once. We don't. There's a hierarchy. Why do I pick out that thing, that thing, that thing?
    • Interview with Mark Feeney, "David Hockney keeps seeking new avenues of exploration," Boston Globe (26 February 2006)
  • Any artist will tell you he's really only interested in the stuff he's doing now. He will, always. It's true, and it should be like that.
    • Interview with Mark Feeney, "David Hockney keeps seeking new avenues of exploration," Boston Globe (26 February 2006)

External linksEdit

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