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Hockney iPad Doodles Debut in Paris October 23, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Trends.
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One of the most influential artists of the 20th century is helping to herald a new movement: digital art. British artist David Hockney opened an exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris – harnessing mobile technology to draw the most traditional of artist’s subjects, the still life.

The computer-generated botanicals in Fleurs Fraiches (Fresh Flowers) feature iPhones, iPads and iPod touches bearing images of flowers created by Hockney using the Brushes app in his home in East Yorkshire in the UK.


David Hockney with iPhone on an easel in his London studio


Three of Hockney’s iPad drawings

The flowers are indeed fresh – Hockney will email new images of the blooms for the duration of the exhibition to help ensure the exhibit is always fresh with new images. Dozens of the apparatuses are bolted onto the walls, their flat screens aglow with art. So if you fancy braving strikers in Paris, the exhibition runs until 30 Jan 2011.

Hockney gained renown in the 1960s as a member of the Pop Art movement. He discovered Brushes 18 months ago after getting an iPhone and then iPad, and started doodling with his thumb to build images of flowers on the screen. He would email the images to his friends.

Among friends who got the emails was curator and cultural historian Charlie Scheips, who immediately saw the potential for an exhibit. An innovative exhibit are six animations showing Hockney’s creative process in fast motion. Days before his show, Hockney was filmed painting the Eiffel Tower on his iPad at the Hotel Lutetia. That mini-documentary has been added to the show’s lineup


Fleurs Fraiches opening cocktail at the Tokyo Art Club in Paris

With the iPad, I use my fingers to zoom in for details, then zoom back out. There’s magic in an iPad. It’s the same magic that’s in pencil or pen or brushes. With this show, one of the great difficulties was, how will people see the paintings? When I sent them personally, on an iPhone, I knew people would be holding the iPhone in their hand, and that my hand made the paintings in that size.

When you put an iPhone on a wall, it’s a bit too small. Twenty iPads look good together on a wall, but 100 together are a little too bright. We tried that in England. The way it’s done here, on a mixture of screens, some measuring up to four-and-a-half meters, they really glow marvelously. You don’t see any pixels.

David Hockney, Artist

Brushes has become something of a Web phenomenon with its own blog, Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as a dedicated Flickr group where Brushes artists can share their work. Portuguese illustrator, photographer and graphic designer Jorge Colombo has even used the app to paint a number of covers for The New Yorker magazine.

Related reads
I Pad, I write, I paint, I am
David Hockney’s iPad art

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