Although he’s well into his seventies, British artist David Hockney has gleefully, at least for the moment, abandoned the traditional tools of his trade – paint brushes, paint, and canvas; he has gone high-tech and become the first internationally celebrated i-artist.
“I draw flowers every day on my iPhone,” Hockney has said, “and send them to my friends, so they get fresh flowers every morning. And my flowers last. Not only can I draw them as if in a little sketchbook, I can also then send them to 15 or 20 people who then get them that morning when they wake up.” He had a show of those 1000+ flowers, called fleurs fraîches, at Paris’ Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in 2010. The images were displayed directly on iPad and iPhone screens or were enlarged as digital projections.
Currently, Hockney has a show up of some of his more recent i-works at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, Me Draw on iPad. Although there are many advantages to painting without paint (what a weird thing to say), it’s more about the medium than any kind of practicality; the exhibition features 20 hanging iPads/iPod touches that refresh and display new works at timed intervals. Some drawings display in an animated format, showing every thumb stroke from start to end.
Hockney will not be printing the art from his iPad and hanging it, and it can’t really be sold or collected in any traditional way. Instead, the shows offers viewers a glimpse into the artistic potential of technology, and an unexpected potential art movement. Want to be a part of it? Download the Brushes app, Hockney’s drawing tool of choice, and see what sort of masterpieces you can come up with!