David Hockney Paints Himself As Anti Social Recluse

David Hockney shuns bright lights while A Bigger Picture, his biggest exhibition to date, opens this week

David Hockney has shunned efforts to pin on him the honour of being the ‘greatest living artist’. one of the best-known figures of the 1960s British pop art movement, now 74, Hockney dismissed the description as ‘newspaper stuff’, adding; ‘It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t mean too much to me, actually’.

Efforts to laud Hockney are in full swing as his major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts opens this week. But, despite all the attention, Hockney remains adamant that it is all vacuous hype, wanting to let the art speak for itself, and attempting to present himself as an eccentric recluse: ‘I live in a remote place, I intend to stay in it, I’m not very social – I’m too deaf to be social.’ Hockney suggests that his hearing loss has been a major influence on his turn to landscape, given that he ‘likes the city less and less’: ‘LA isn’t too bad, New York’s difficult, London I find difficult – so I love the quiet of East Yorkshire’; ‘It’s not that you’re not hearing anything at all, you are hearing sounds but they’re jumbled and you don’t really like it.’

Featuring a series of works inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape of his childhood, ‘This show [reflects] my excitement at a period in my life when I’d gone to a place I thought was familiar and found it refreshing and very stimulating.’

But far from being the out-of-touch recluse as he would have us believe, Hockney embraces new technology, with the artist’s sketchbook being replaced by the Ipad! ‘I used to think watercolour was quite fast’, he explained, ‘faster say than oil so you could capture fleeting effects’: ‘I now find the iPad is faster than anything.’ And so now, it is a permanent feature in his working day, apparently allowing him to condense ‘four or five hours’ work into 30 seconds’!  If ever there was an advertisement for Apple…


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