David Hockney: The Art of Seeing - A Culture Show Special The Culture Show


David Hockney: The Art of Seeing - A Culture Show Special

Andrew Marr interviews David Hockney about his exhibition A Bigger Picture, housed at the Royal Academy and made up of recent works depicting the landscape of his native Yorkshire.


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Transcript


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'A winter's morning.

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'Bridlington, on the Yorkshire coast.

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'I'm waiting like a grumpy fisherman

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'to catch something mundane, but miraculous... The sunrise.

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'Down the other end of the beach is another man who isn't asleep.

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'He'll be peering through his bedroom window, already at work, because he always is.'

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I might be anywhere in the world, doing anything, waiting to do some filming

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and there's little ping and, in the inbox of my phone or my iPad,

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there is a present. And the present might be some freshly-cut flowers,

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a bottle of wine on a table,

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it might be the sun coming up over the sea,

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it might be a misty mountain in California.

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In each case, it's a glowing little drawing, by David Hockney.

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'I've been drawing all my life and, recently, after Hockney's tip-off,

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'mostly on an electronic tablet.'

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One of the things that Hockney gives you is,

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there's absolutely no way in a normal day that you'd get up

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at sort of 7:30 in the morning and just go and stand

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and stare at a completely cloudy

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and, initially, colourless sea and just watch the sun come up.

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And it's absolutely fantastic. It's wonderful.

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It's just about looking, you know?

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The harder you look, the more you see, and the more you get back.

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# Well, I insist that everybody twists!

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# Come on, everybody let's twist Hey, hey!

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# Come on, everybody, let's twist Well-ah, well-ah, well-ah!

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# Everybody, everybody Everybody, everybody's

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# Doin' the twist, yeah! #

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When art went pop in the '60s, David Hockney was there...

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if not actually doing the twist.

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# Twist around the clock! Around the clock. #

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'Now, he has been voted Britain's Most Influential Living Painter

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'and he seems to have attained the status of "national treasure".'

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SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE

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You've got it, yeah.

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Thought Hockney was born in Bradford, he's been best known for escaping to California and painting

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-the swimming pool paradise he found there.

-Marvellous shadow.

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In the '60s and '70s, he was the golden boy of a hedonistic art world

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in LA and London. He was openly gay and massively successful.

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But he never stood still. His work embraced stage design,

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portraits, photo-collages, prints and even faxes.

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Even so, the work which is now being hung in London isn't something

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anybody predicted.

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He's been painting landscapes of his native East Yorkshire,

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a genre that is out of fashion for a place whose quiet beauty

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seems to have almost escaped notice.

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Not any more, though, because these places, in vivid colour

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and heroic scale, on canvas and in multi-screen films,

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have taken over all 13 galleries of the Royal Academy -

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an unprecedented honour and spectacular climax to Hockney's career.

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I went to Bridlington to interview him for the radio...

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This was...Sunrise.

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and I was reminded how fascinated he is by new ways of picture making.

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In a way, you can't destroy the drawings, either,

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because it's not a real surface.

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I also got more than just a fine sunrise.

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Textures. Marvellous textures.

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A sneak preview of the films he is now making, which seem to prove

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his passionate attachment to this very English landscape.

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First, I wanted to talk about the paintings,

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which show that Hockney has returned to England and made a part of it very much his own.

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Hockney has come home.

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This is a picture

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of England, of a particular part of England, obviously.

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Most of these paintings are of East Yorkshire and Bridlington,

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where you've been for seven years now, painting. But you seem to me to be making

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statements about what matters to you about England.

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This is not part of the heavily signed,

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over developed England of the South.

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Well, remember I've lived out of England for 30 years,

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but I've always been coming here,

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because my mother lived here.

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Erm, I spent 30 Christmases in Bridlington.

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So I was always coming in.

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And in the winter, I never stayed long,

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because I always thought it was too dark and too cold.

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Not enough light.

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But it was only when I thought I'd found a subject

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that I then decided, "Well, I'll stay a bit longer."

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That subject was the surrounding countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Just let me ask you a little bit, about the landscape, David,

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because this is a landscape you've known, one way or another, all your life,

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but it's only in the last six, seven years that you've really lived in it full time.

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Um, yeah, I mean, I've known it since early teens, actually.

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I worked on a farm not that far away. I cycled round here for two summers,

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But you get to know it, and you know it's hilly if you're cycling.

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-You feel it, yes.

-You do.

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But I was always attracted to it. I always thought it had a space

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that was, I thought, attractive.

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Local place names, like Thixendale, Woldgate

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and Bugthorpe have come to dominate the walls of the Royal Academy.

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It's all been carefully planned,

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by Hockney, the expert set designer,

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who's built a model of the entire show,

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back in his studio in Bridlington.

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Can you give us a little tour of the exhibition?

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Well, erm, you, kind of, come in here and there's four paintings -

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Three Trees Near Thixendale,

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in the spring, summer, autumn and winter.

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And you then turn here. Here's the only room with old work.

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I kept telling them, "Not so many old pictures, let's have new".

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I mean, it's not a retrospective exhibition.

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I mean, mostly it's very new work.

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And I knew perfectly well they wouldn't give many artists that

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opportunity when they don't know what the new work is going to be like,

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but I think we rose to the occasion.

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'The scale of the work is striking.

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'He's not just painting Yorkshire, he's painting it big.'

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It's called A Bigger Picture, which I'm well aware means a few things.

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That people need a bigger picture, so they can see things, don't they?

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A bigger perspective, a wider perspective?

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A wider perspective...

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Let's be... You must also be conscious that,

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by doing something like this in the Royal Academy,

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you are putting yourself up against the greatest English landscape painters ever,

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who have done the same sort of thing.

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These are the rooms in which the Constables and the Turners hung.

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They were never offered all this room, on their own.

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-So you're... This is a conscious...

-Yeah, I'll take them on, OK.

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If it was that kind of competition,

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Hockney's already ahead of the game.

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Constable struggled all his life to gain recognition for his landscapes

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and it took him years to be elected to the Royal Academy.

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One of the last works to be unpacked is the poster image

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of the entire Bigger Picture show.

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The strikingly-coloured Winter Timber arrives,

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as 15 separate canvases.

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-These are the best rooms in London for paintings.

-They're wonderful.

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They're just going to put this up.

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So, David they're going to... They're just working out the height.

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Then they'll hold up the bottom two canvases and we can look and see if the balance works.

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And we can go down there and look, yeah.

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I was looking at the, you know, the component canvases,

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-and it's remarkable how many of them work separately as pictures.

-Yeah.

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-Just by themselves.

-Yeah.

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-There's a wonderful piece of, almost, abstract painting.

-Yeah.

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I mean, well, everything is abstract, in a way, I mean, on a flat surface.

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-Yes. These. These work beautifully, don't they?

-Yeah.

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When they said the landscape genre's finished, you can't do anything.

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It can't be true of nature and the landscape, it's only our way

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of looking at it that's finished, that's boring or something.

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So, get a new way.

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Well, we did with cameras, we did it here, with making them bigger.

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You can work bigger outside. I can do that, I like doing that.

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I mean, not every artist wants to do that. Some do that.

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Erm, I've always liked that.

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You know, the thing about the big pictures,

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the problems are mainly because they're big.

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You know, in Brid, we have a wall where we just clip them on,

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so you can move them about.

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And it's a technical problem solved for painting very, very

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big paintings.

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And, uh, somehow, I think, painting should be bigger.

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Scale, I mean, that's what I'm saying here, scale is important.

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You begin to... You're aware, more aware, you're looking.

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-You're inside something, rather than just standing away from it?

-Outside.

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The European idea and the Chinese idea were different.

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The Chinese idea of the landscape was you walking through it,

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the scroll was you moved through it.

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The European idea was a window.

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You are fixed point, which is what the camera is, isn't it?

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You are inhabiting some of the grandest,

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biggest rooms - all of the rooms - of the Royal Academy,

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which is a very rare thing for any living artist to do.

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It's unusual for somebody to take up the whole Academy.

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Mind you, I did find a great quote. I was in San Francisco recently,

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they had a terrific Picasso show, on loan from Paris.

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And there was a quote in it, "Give me a museum and I'll fill it."

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I loved it and thought, "Well, give me the Royal Academy and I'll fill it."

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THEY CHAT

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'He's become increasingly prolific over the past 10-15 years,

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'and that's partly to do with getting older and knowing'

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the work that he still wants to make and having that sense of urgency.

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But they're not just knocked off.

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I mean, he is working seven days a week, from first light until dusk.

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He wakes up at 4:30 in the morning, or 5:30 in the morning,

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and he'll see the light coming through the window and a vase

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of flowers there and he'll take out his iPad and he'll be making

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a picture, which he'll send to his friends an hour later.

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He's always had that work ethic and that sense of urgency about making art.

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So, it's also a question of a lifetime of experience.

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The way he can paint now, the skill and the confidence he has,

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he wouldn't have had, even in 1970.

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He used to spend six months on some paintings, just on making

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one painting, and he wouldn't have had the fluency then that he has now.

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He's fond of saying that the Chinese say that painting is an old man's art and it's certainly borne out

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in his case, that a lifetime's experience enables him to work in the way that he does now.

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Growing up in Bradford, his father a conscientious objector, his mother a Methodist,

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Hockney won his first art prize at grammar school,

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went to the Royal College of Art

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and fled the industrial North.

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He was charismatic and image conscious. His career was glittering.

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But he never chose the route of conceptual art, never stopped drawing,

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and was always serious about the practicalities of picture making.

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What do you think when you come back and look again at your earliest?

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Do you know what I thought straight away?

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These are the only paintings that have gone a bit dark.

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-And it's because of the cheap white paint that I was using.

-Really?

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It's a cheap flake-white. If you put too much in the paint, it makes it go dark not that long after.

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And I was only 18 when I was doing it, so nobody cared.

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You just covered them up, mostly.

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-But the mountain one, I used better paint.

-Yes.

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-So this is better.

-No, this is still...

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I'm at the Royal College of Art. Still a student, actually.

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Still a student. And this is...

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You were talking about Chinese painting and the journey.

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-Yeah.

-It seems to be me this is a little bit of a journey.

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Well, it was only my... I think, second or third trip on the continent

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and I was going to Italy

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and me and an American friend were given a lift from London to Berne in a little minivan

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with no windows in it. I was in the back, so you never saw anything,

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and we went through Switzerland and never really saw it.

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At which I thought, "It's disappointing, so you can't paint the mountains."

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So I thought, "There's another way you can paint them."

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This is from the postcard of the mountains

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and it's a geology diagram.

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Yes, it is a journey, moving through it.

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I mean, er...

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-I might be probably a bit obsessed with it, yeah.

-The journey?

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Well, or... But it's the... As I say, it's the movement.

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It's movement through... YOUR movement. It's like...

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Again, I'll point out the difference.

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Duchamp did a woman descending a staircase. It's about HER movement there.

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But that's not what Picasso did.

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In his still lifes, it's about YOUR movement,

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just moving the head and so on,

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-which is a lot more interesting, I think.

-Yeah.

-A great deal more interesting.

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And that hasn't been explored that much.

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Probably because of the camera, the ubiquity of the camera and that image,

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and it's also unfortunately named - Cubism. It wasn't about cubes.

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-It's about space in between them.

-Yeah, and about depicting space and us in it.

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And I point out... Really the most interesting space of all isn't way out there,

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it's where I end and where you begin, isn't it?

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CAMERA CLICKS AND WINDS

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Do you know, I'm just a snapper, really.

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You know, I've taken photographs for a long, long time

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and I have about 100 albums full of photographs, all a life.

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Hockney's relationship with photography has actually been long and complicated.

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In the mid-Eighties, he took to using photographs

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to dramatise the sense of space in a landscape.

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Pearblossom Highway is a collage of prints

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designed to mimic the subjective,

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immersive - you might even say, Cubist - experience of space.

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A Closer Grand Canyon is a different solution to the same problem,

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painted on 60 glowing canvases.

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It's a spatial thrill, the Grand Canyon, seems to me.

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Very, very big special thrill.

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It's unusual, there's no focal point.

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If you stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon you have to look everywhere.

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Some things are a bit un-photographable, especially if it's space.

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At the time, this was the biggest picture you'd done, was it, I think?

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Er...yes, it would've been, yeah.

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Yeah, so this is maybe the beginning of the bigger and bigger pictures. That's pretty big.

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-Actually, no, THAT'S the same size and that's ten years earlier.

-OK.

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And I was doing... I'd just got a different studio in LA.

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The moment I get bigger studios, I start doing everything bigger.

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I'll sign the picture.

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'I've often said that people never quite know how to place my art

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'but it's their worry, not mine!

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'You learn the lesson from Picasso. You shouldn't be afraid.

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'I loved it the other day when somebody came in, looked at that

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'and said, "You wouldn't know it was painted by David Hockney."

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'I said, no. I thought that was exciting. You will one day.'

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In Los Angeles, his experience

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of driving through the Hollywood Hills and the canyons

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inspired a new kind of landscape - road paintings.

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I decided I'd paint a picture of the Nichols Canyon.

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The first thing I drew was this line. It went all over the place at first.

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With driving up and down in a little open car,

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you sensed how it was big, how it was above you. How things...

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You were small and it zoomed up on either side.

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The moment I got here,

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within one week of coming here - I'd never driven before -

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I'd got a driving licence, bought a car,

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got a studio and I thought, this is the place.

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And I thought, it's so sexy, all these incredible boys.

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Everybody wore little white socks, then.

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It's always sunny. It's got all the energy of the United States

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with the Mediterranean thrown in,

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which I think is a wonderful combination.

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It even looks a bit like Italy.

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-Do you go to America?

-Yes, a bit.

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OK, this is my observation in America.

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-They're all medicated now and they're are bit slower.

-They're on pills?

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Yeah, and you can tell.

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-That snapped finger...

-Has gone a bit.

-..has gone a bit

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and I mentioned it. When I mentioned it to Gregory in LA,

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he came up with a very marvellous LA observation and he said,

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"Yes, they're slower away at the traffic lights."

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In 1997, Hockney spent six months in Yorkshire,

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in order to be near his close friend and supporter, Jonathan Silver,

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who was terminally ill. In the late 1980s,

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Silver had purchased Salts Mill in Saltaire near Bradford,

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where he created a gallery for Hockney's work.

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It was Silver who'd been at the receiving end

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of Hockney's first epic work for fax machine.

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We thought we had one or two problems.

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At the beginning, when it started off, we didn't get a connection, but at the moment...

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it's magicking the place, isn't it?

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He also suggested Hockney should paint his native Yorkshire.

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This is an unusual painting, because it's of buildings

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and it's for your friend, who was ill.

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-It's not a subject I would normally have done.

-Yeah.

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Architecture is not a subject I'm that interested in.

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I painted that in LA, when I went back, but because Jonathan was dying,

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-I thought, "Well, I'll paint Saltaire for him."

-Yeah.

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And, as I say, it wasn't a subject normally I'd deal with, but I did

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and he was very pleased.

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-And the painting I was really doing, or wanting to, was this space.

-This one.

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I'd made little drawings and then, when I got back to LA,

0:21:360:21:41

actually, that's the first thing I did.

0:21:410:21:44

-It's painted from memory, the memory of the road...

-Of the road itself.

0:21:440:21:48

..again moving through a landscape.

0:21:480:21:51

-This is the road from York down towards Bridlington.

-Yeah, yeah, down towards York, yeah.

0:21:510:21:57

-That's the road to York through Sledmere.

-Yeah.

0:21:570:22:01

Again, I kept driving through it.

0:22:010:22:03

Do you know, my sister-in-law, when she saw the painting afterwards

0:22:030:22:06

she said "Do you know, I never realised it was red and green, Sledmere."

0:22:060:22:11

"All the houses are red." I said, "Well, you didn't look hard enough."

0:22:110:22:15

I mean, it is.

0:22:150:22:17

Again, it was... Yes, the idea of the landscape through a journey.

0:22:170:22:22

To what extent do you think you have been able to paint

0:22:260:22:29

these extraordinarily vivid paintings of England?

0:22:290:22:33

Because you learned a new...

0:22:330:22:36

-Because I lived in California for 30 years.

-Exactly.

0:22:360:22:38

A new vocabulary of colour in California.

0:22:380:22:41

Yeah. Well, they're Yorkshire landscapes painted by someone who's lived in LA for 30 years.

0:22:410:22:46

As I say, I never intended to...

0:22:460:22:49

When I came back, I didn't say, "I'm leaving Cal..." I didn't.

0:22:490:22:53

If people asked me where I lived, I'd tell them I lived wherever I happened to be

0:22:530:22:57

and I'd point out in Hollywood, we'd say, "I'm on location."

0:22:570:23:02

This is location, isn't it?

0:23:020:23:03

I was getting to enjoy the landscape.

0:23:230:23:25

-By the time here, I'd settled in here.

-Yes.

0:23:250:23:29

These were... I did watercolours first. They kept one.

0:23:290:23:32

-The wall of watercolours.

-A wall of watercolours.

0:23:320:23:35

-I wanted to show the hand, meaning something flowing.

-Yes.

0:23:350:23:39

Heart and hand and eye.

0:23:390:23:41

That's the Chinese, that's what you need for painting.

0:23:410:23:45

You need three things - the hand, the eye and the heart.

0:23:450:23:49

Two won't do. It's very, very good, I think.

0:23:490:23:53

It's very true, and when you think of Rembrandt drawings, isn't that what they are?

0:23:530:23:59

Everything, that's what they are. The hand, the eye and the heart. There it is.

0:23:590:24:03

These were when I decided to work from observation to develop perhaps

0:24:050:24:11

marks or something, so I just chose watercolour first.

0:24:110:24:16

This was summer.

0:24:160:24:17

Could you explain for me - I remember you once explaining

0:24:170:24:20

the difficulty of watercolour is that you paint in reverse, almost.

0:24:200:24:24

Well, yes, you have to work from light to dark.

0:24:240:24:28

Once you've got a dark there, you can't put anything light on it

0:24:280:24:32

unless you take it out. You can with difficulty, but it can't...

0:24:320:24:38

So you have to... You learn this quickly, you work from light to dark.

0:24:380:24:43

Again, it's stimulates you. It makes you think out things.

0:24:430:24:49

There were some techniques where you have to...

0:24:490:24:53

Where was it? Painting of corn, yeah.

0:24:530:24:57

-All that was drawn positively with rubber cement.

-Oh, yes.

0:24:570:25:02

-So it was white. Exactly, then you rub it off with...

-You've to think, then you rub it off.

0:25:020:25:06

You find these techniques and, in a way,

0:25:060:25:09

the sketchbooks of these led to the iPad.

0:25:090:25:13

I was going to ask. There is clearly a relationship.

0:25:130:25:15

-These are two or three hours. These are a few more hours, each one.

-Yes.

0:25:150:25:22

And I didn't always exhibit those.

0:25:220:25:24

But I think putting them together, like that - I added to them - shows you what I was doing.

0:25:240:25:31

-Just simply going out and looking at it.

-Yes.

0:25:310:25:33

Certainly in some of them there is a very strong sense of bigness and space, as well.

0:25:330:25:38

I am affected, I know I'm affected by the space. It thrills me, I get a thrill.

0:25:380:25:43

-Yes.

-Doesn't everybody? It does me.

0:25:430:25:45

-And in painting, I've always made space.

-Yes.

0:25:450:25:49

How to put figures in space and so on.

0:25:490:25:52

One of the first painting spots he settled on

0:25:550:25:58

was a rather ordinary farm track that's become known as The Tunnel.

0:25:580:26:02

David, can I ask what first attracted you to this particular place?

0:26:050:26:09

-Because you painted here a lot.

-Well, it was in the summer.

0:26:090:26:13

So...it was actually quite dark in here.

0:26:130:26:18

Well, where the trees came round and you could see there was almost

0:26:180:26:23

a spiral in here from the shadows

0:26:230:26:28

and it caught my eye and I did a small painting, actually.

0:26:280:26:34

And then I'd look at it again

0:26:340:26:36

and then begin to see, of course, it was go to change.

0:26:360:26:41

And especially change from what I'd done originally.

0:26:410:26:47

-So I just kept coming back and then I made them bigger.

-Yep.

0:26:470:26:52

All the next paintings were bigger

0:26:520:26:54

and then it was here that I decided I wanted to do them a lot bigger

0:26:540:26:59

and it was here we first brought six canvases out.

0:26:590:27:05

And is this about being inside the landscape?

0:27:050:27:08

You are surrounded here, 360 degrees.

0:27:080:27:10

-You're looking up, down.

-Yeah.

-Is that what the scale is for?

-Yes, it is.

0:27:100:27:15

Remember, when you... Well, I'll show you films later,

0:27:150:27:19

but any cameraman will tell you - Hollywood cameramen will, anyway -

0:27:190:27:23

it's not so easy to film the tallness of trees, for instance.

0:27:230:27:28

because you have to look up to see the tallness.

0:27:280:27:32

-And it's the tallness that would give you the majesty of the tree, isn't it?

-Yes.

0:27:320:27:37

The majestic nature. And so it was that.

0:27:370:27:42

I wanted to expand it from one canvas,

0:27:420:27:47

so I just did what I'd do with a Polaroid or something.

0:27:470:27:52

You just put one next to the other, make it bigger.

0:27:520:27:55

Remember, if you're doing anything big...

0:27:550:27:59

..in any kind of art, actually, the major problems are because they're big.

0:28:000:28:05

A great big canvas, you've technical problems,

0:28:050:28:08

because you're a certain size. I can only reach so far.

0:28:080:28:13

And if it's 12 foot, how do I get to the top of the canvas?

0:28:130:28:18

OK, you can go up on a ladder,

0:28:180:28:20

-but if you're up on a ladder, you can't...

-You can't stand back!

0:28:200:28:24

No, you can't stand back, you can't paint that freely.

0:28:240:28:27

So you don't want to do that.

0:28:270:28:29

A lot of people would say, why not paint from a photograph?

0:28:290:28:32

Why go to the bother of standing out in front of the trees when you paint?

0:28:320:28:36

Well, you just get a totally different reaction.

0:28:360:28:39

I think, in the end,

0:28:390:28:41

the world doesn't quite look like photographs.

0:28:410:28:44

Cameras give you a certain kind of view,

0:28:440:28:46

but it's not quite the human view, I think.

0:28:460:28:49

The idea of being able to work on a big scale outside is terrific.

0:28:490:28:55

Remember, Constable, when he did those big canvases,

0:28:550:28:59

they were all done indoors. He did it from memory,

0:28:590:29:02

because of technical problems.

0:29:020:29:05

His main technical problem, he didn't have tubes of paint.

0:29:050:29:10

He only had bladders of paint.

0:29:100:29:12

-This is about 20 or 30 years before the first metal tubes were available?

-That's it.

0:29:120:29:17

So he would have great difficulty working outside.

0:29:170:29:20

The invention of the collapsible tube opened up Impressionism.

0:29:200:29:24

I mean, meaning you can suddenly work anywhere.

0:29:240:29:28

-These are...

-Fresh ready-mixed colours you can just use?

0:29:280:29:32

Technology is altering things.

0:29:320:29:35

It's probably doing that all the time.

0:29:350:29:39

If you've lived in California the length of time I did,

0:29:420:29:45

it is fantastic watching,

0:29:450:29:49

not just a bush change but the whole area.

0:29:490:29:52

Again, every day would be a different colour.

0:29:520:29:57

I mean, look at the variety in the trees.

0:29:570:30:03

There's a hell of a lot you can see, isn't there?

0:30:030:30:06

The textures.

0:30:080:30:10

There's so much to look at, actually. If you're painting,

0:30:100:30:15

you're editing, you're forced to be.

0:30:150:30:18

I love the knobbly things.

0:30:200:30:23

I'm eating all the Maltesers!

0:30:230:30:26

ANDREW LAUGHS

0:30:260:30:28

This was actually the first painting where I put six canvases together.

0:30:280:30:33

This is the first one. I immediately knew... It's called Closer.

0:30:330:30:38

You feel closer, actually... you feel closer to the trees,

0:30:380:30:41

you feel closer to the thing.

0:30:410:30:43

This was painted outside there.

0:30:430:30:46

-Where we were standing.

-In the mud. I mean, we had mud.

0:30:460:30:50

I then realised, "Ah, we're moving on,

0:30:500:30:53

"this is fascinating, what you can do."

0:30:530:30:56

And then I did all those woods.

0:30:560:30:58

But the paintings are beginning to get bigger,

0:30:580:31:01

and I'm finding ways that you can make big paintings

0:31:010:31:05

without too much difficulty, meaning aware it's a technical difficulty.

0:31:050:31:10

Can I ask about the colour, David?

0:31:100:31:13

Because it seems to be, in these pictures,

0:31:130:31:16

you are pulling out more pinks and oranges

0:31:160:31:20

-and bright greens than you were doing even when you started.

-Yeah.

0:31:200:31:23

And you're on the journey towards the big woodland paintings which are unbelievable.

0:31:230:31:28

When you're stood there - I haven't done this for a long time -

0:31:280:31:33

you're stood there and you start asking yourself about colour.

0:31:330:31:37

What is it you're seeing? Cos you have to look hard to see.

0:31:370:31:41

I mean, it's... You ask about the colour of the ground and so on

0:31:410:31:46

and then you want to relate them.

0:31:460:31:49

It's then that you start seeing, "Well, these are pinks, really,

0:31:490:31:54

"these are not greys," and you are seeing more.

0:31:540:32:00

I always ask questions. "What colour is it really?"

0:32:010:32:06

And it has to relate to others. "How does it relate?"

0:32:060:32:10

-Also, green is not an easy colour to use.

-It's really not.

0:32:100:32:15

Most artists would tell you that. Some hate it.

0:32:150:32:19

Turner didn't like green, Mondrian was horrified by green.

0:32:190:32:22

Well, if you're painting England, it is green, there's no doubt,

0:32:220:32:26

but it is all kinds of different green,

0:32:260:32:29

and, of course, different times of day...

0:32:290:32:33

But I'm well aware it's not so easy.

0:32:330:32:35

Another subject Hockney returns to time and time again

0:32:480:32:54

is known as the Totem.

0:32:540:32:55

This was a dead tree, you see, it had died.

0:32:550:32:59

And it was a good subject in the summer.

0:32:590:33:01

Can I just say one thing? This is what great painting does.

0:33:070:33:11

I bounced out of the car just now, I go, "Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it wonderful?"

0:33:110:33:16

It's just a tree stump! It's not particularly beautiful.

0:33:160:33:19

But because I know it from the paintings, I'm going, "Ah, ah."

0:33:190:33:22

-That's the magic.

-There's a lot that comes together.

0:33:220:33:25

To be able to do what we did here,

0:33:250:33:27

especially with the films as well, but painting and drawing,

0:33:270:33:32

we were never bothered. We were just mostly on our own.

0:33:320:33:36

It's important for you to have subjects

0:33:360:33:40

which you return to again and again.

0:33:400:33:42

I mean, Monet had his haystacks and you've got a tree stump...

0:33:420:33:46

Remember, the dramatic subject here is the change, actually.

0:33:460:33:50

Not just today -

0:33:500:33:53

-it's when you see it in another week, or two weeks.

-Yes.

0:33:530:33:57

So, in a way, you then come back to the same place.

0:33:570:34:02

It becomes a motif that is going to look very different.

0:34:020:34:07

I mean, there's a lot of iPad drawings of this

0:34:070:34:12

in different colours. Misty red morning...

0:34:120:34:17

I'd just come along here and if I saw it different, I'd do another picture.

0:34:170:34:21

With the iPad, you can do them quickly,

0:34:210:34:23

you've got the time to capture them.

0:34:230:34:26

You can capture the mood and the palette very quickly.

0:34:260:34:29

By the time I was drawing on here with the iPad,

0:34:290:34:35

I had been using it for about eight months so I'd got rather good at it.

0:34:350:34:40

I'd realised this - that you could, very, very quickly,

0:34:400:34:45

establish five colours down there,

0:34:450:34:48

generally these reddy-greens, or whatever.

0:34:480:34:51

You can do them very quick. Quicker than anything else I know.

0:34:510:34:56

Because a coloured pencil, you can't do a mass that quickly.

0:34:560:35:00

Watercolour, you'd need a big brush, you've to let it dry.

0:35:000:35:06

Here, you can do it in seconds, actually. And so it's a...

0:35:060:35:11

It's certainly a new medium, and terrific for certain things.

0:35:110:35:17

I found it was good for luminous subjects - sunrise,

0:35:170:35:22

-or something like that.

-Because you've got a back-lit screen.

-Yeah.

0:35:220:35:26

But also this fact that you could put

0:35:260:35:29

quite a subtle range of colour down very, very quickly,

0:35:290:35:35

quicker than anything else I'd ever come across.

0:35:350:35:38

I'm sure loads of other artists will find that.

0:35:380:35:41

I mean, it's pretty rotten, isn't it, actually? You can see it.

0:35:450:35:50

When you've drawn them a lot, they become quite special to you. They do.

0:35:500:35:55

Of course.

0:35:550:35:57

It's the lack of people, that's the great thing, I'll tell you.

0:35:580:36:03

The Cotswolds are crowded by comparison.

0:36:030:36:06

I will say this, deafness plays a little part in it for me,

0:36:130:36:17

in the sense that I have a harder time in the big city,

0:36:170:36:22

because of my hearing.

0:36:220:36:25

Long before you couldn't smoke in the restaurants in LA,

0:36:250:36:29

I'd stopped going to them mostly, because they were too noisy.

0:36:290:36:33

I couldn't...

0:36:330:36:35

If it's noisy, I just hear one big cacophony,

0:36:350:36:38

and I couldn't hear people near me.

0:36:380:36:41

That is a powerful thing on you, of course.

0:36:410:36:46

I like silence as well.

0:36:460:36:48

I do like silence. If you like music, you like silence.

0:36:480:36:52

-Some people don't, but I do.

-And this is quite a silent part of the country,

0:36:520:36:57

in the sense that it doesn't have any through traffic.

0:36:570:37:01

People have to want to come to Bridlington to come here.

0:37:010:37:05

It's on the road to nowhere.

0:37:050:37:08

I used to think there were dull days here for a while,

0:37:120:37:17

but after about two years, I decided there wasn't.

0:37:170:37:21

Even a day like this has qualities you won't see maybe tomorrow,

0:37:210:37:26

or something, or this morning when it was sunny.

0:37:260:37:29

But you see, to see the colour here,

0:37:290:37:32

you've to start looking for quite a while.

0:37:320:37:35

You've to look and look. But it isn't black and white.

0:37:350:37:40

No, it's certainly not.

0:37:400:37:41

I should just explain that we're here in the Woldgate Woods

0:37:570:38:01

where a series of the most exciting, huge sets of paintings that David has made

0:38:010:38:06

-were painted from or less where we're standing?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:38:060:38:10

Looking down that way.

0:38:100:38:12

And what they will show

0:38:120:38:15

is the most extraordinary greens and reds,

0:38:150:38:18

and, at different times of the year, mist.

0:38:180:38:20

I did about nine in a year, covering a year,

0:38:240:38:29

so it was two each season or more. Yeah, there was a mist.

0:38:290:38:35

And the mist took a while and, of course, the mist had gone.

0:38:350:38:40

But because I'd figured out how to do the misty trees,

0:38:400:38:44

I had to come back and still look at them to do it.

0:38:440:38:48

-As if they were misty.

-As if they were misty.

0:38:480:38:51

Bu the mist only stayed for two or three hours.

0:38:510:38:55

And you're trying to work as fast as possible when you're outside.

0:38:550:38:59

I like that.

0:39:010:39:03

'Hockney is making a series of paintings of this one spot

0:39:050:39:09

'called Woldgate Woods.

0:39:090:39:11

'By using the same composition,

0:39:110:39:14

'he can complete six panels in a day or two.'

0:39:140:39:17

'The first winter one took about three weeks to do

0:39:170:39:22

'because I was drawing it for the first time.

0:39:220:39:26

'Now I'd be able to do them much quicker,

0:39:260:39:30

'meaning I go for a special effect of that day.'

0:39:300:39:35

-Got the

-BLEEP

-sun coming up.

0:39:430:39:47

And the more you put in through oil paint onto the surface,

0:39:470:39:51

the more there is there for the viewer one day to unlock and suck back out again.

0:39:510:39:56

I should think so. Yeah, yeah.

0:39:560:39:58

I mean, the time you put in is visible.

0:39:580:40:03

I was conscious of always leaving marks,

0:40:030:40:07

not covering up too many marks, leave them visible,

0:40:070:40:11

because that's leaving time visible and the process visible.

0:40:110:40:16

Generally, you'd only cover up a mark in painting

0:40:160:40:20

if you wanted to make an illusion.

0:40:200:40:22

See, there's still not much traffic out here.

0:40:400:40:43

We thought we were really amazingly lucky what we'd found here,

0:40:430:40:48

what I'd found.

0:40:480:40:50

And yet to most people, it looks like nothing. You know, it's just a...

0:40:500:40:53

Well, my sister, for instance, when we'd done two here -

0:40:530:41:00

my sister, who had lived in Bridlington for 30 years -

0:41:000:41:04

asked me where it was, you see.

0:41:040:41:06

I said, "Oh, well, it's on Woldgate. She used to come driving here.

0:41:060:41:10

I said, "Well, you have to get out the car and walk a little bit and stuff."

0:41:100:41:16

But not many people do here, really.

0:41:160:41:21

Actually, this is where a lot of people just dump things.

0:41:210:41:24

Sometimes, you'd have old refrigerators and things.

0:41:240:41:29

We thought they looked like sculptures placed here or something.

0:41:290:41:34

There's a poem of Wallace Stevens'.

0:41:340:41:39

"I placed a jar in Tennessee."

0:41:390:41:42

Alone it stood upon a hill.

0:41:430:41:46

Putting something in the landscape alters it.

0:41:460:41:50

It made me, actually, when they put the refrigerators here,

0:41:500:41:54

it made me think of it then.

0:41:540:41:56

-I suppose there is another way you could look at it, it's not too bad.

-No.

0:41:560:42:01

-It depends how many refrigerators, I guess!

-Yeah, OK.

0:42:010:42:05

You paint with memory even when you're here. No such thing as...

0:42:060:42:12

Objective.

0:42:120:42:14

You're painting from memory of yesterday morning.

0:42:140:42:20

We always see with memory.

0:42:200:42:22

And seeing each person's memory is a bit different.

0:42:230:42:26

We can't be looking at the same things, can we?

0:42:280:42:31

We're all on our own.

0:42:350:42:36

I could come and do them again, and it would be different again.

0:42:530:42:58

-It would be painted differently.

-Yes.

-The marks would be different.

0:42:580:43:02

Again, I get the impression that the message is not,

0:43:110:43:15

"Come and see this extraordinary landscape,"

0:43:150:43:18

it's, "Look harder, and look for longer, wherever you live, wherever you are."

0:43:180:43:23

Well, yes, it is saying that. I mean, I think that's true. I think...

0:43:230:43:27

..I think Van Gogh was saying things like that.

0:43:290:43:32

I'm always pointing out, if you took Van Gogh

0:43:320:43:36

and put him into the dreariest kind of American motel room,

0:43:360:43:43

I suspect, at the end of a week,

0:43:430:43:45

he'd still come out with interesting paintings.

0:43:450:43:49

The hole in the carpet he'd paint, wouldn't he?

0:43:490:43:54

Somehow, everything becomes interesting, because he's looking at it.

0:43:540:43:58

So to paint a place, you have to have a lot of knowledge -

0:44:010:44:04

you have to have acquired knowledge about light and the foliage

0:44:040:44:09

-and what you're looking at before you can really paint it?

-Yes.

0:44:090:44:13

Because you have to understand... For instance, the arrival of spring

0:44:130:44:18

is an event that, for six weeks, it will be changing almost daily.

0:44:180:44:23

So, you know, you're doing this,

0:44:230:44:25

well, it take a year or two to sort that out in an orderly way,

0:44:250:44:30

because you have to have one spring, and then wait for the other.

0:44:300:44:33

So it does take time,

0:44:330:44:36

and I don't think you can just suddenly come one April

0:44:360:44:40

and just do it.

0:44:400:44:42

Hockney's close observation of the cycles of nature

0:44:510:44:54

is behind a show stopper of the Academy exhibition

0:44:540:44:58

dedicated to the arrival of spring.

0:44:580:45:01

The largest gallery in the Academy

0:45:010:45:04

has been turned into a single work of art made up of 51 iPad prints...

0:45:040:45:10

..and a massive end-wall painting.

0:45:110:45:15

-If you come down here and look at it, I mean...

-Yeah.

-You'll see...

0:45:170:45:21

-You look through there.

-You can't do this with the real building.

0:45:210:45:25

To do the spring, you had to begin in the winter

0:45:250:45:29

because you have to show the change, so you've got to show

0:45:290:45:32

before and after, and becoming.

0:45:320:45:34

This sequence starts in the winter, and then works its way

0:45:340:45:37

-through the room.

-It starts here in the winter and goes on until June.

0:45:370:45:42

And I was out there every day, watching everything,

0:45:420:45:46

as the grass begins, as the little flowers,

0:45:460:45:49

the first spring flowers are coming out.

0:45:490:45:52

So it's all there in order, and I assume there might be people

0:45:520:45:57

who know nature rather well, so everything is in order.

0:45:570:46:01

Because I thought, "Well, it has to be. I'll do that."

0:46:010:46:04

I can't think of a room that's been designed this way before.

0:46:180:46:22

-I can't think of something that's...

-Well, I don't suppose this room - THIS room -

0:46:220:46:26

was ever given out to someone, an artist,

0:46:260:46:29

the way they gave it to me, in a sense.

0:46:290:46:31

There's no historical record of it,

0:46:330:46:36

and it wouldn't happen much, but it is...

0:46:360:46:40

-a very grand, splendid room.

-It certainly is.

0:46:400:46:43

-And so you need a big, splendid subject, I think.

-Yes.

0:46:430:46:47

-Well, that's what

-I

-thought.

0:46:470:46:49

-And the arrival of spring is one.

-It is, absolutely.

0:46:490:46:52

Can I ask about the iPad specifically, David?

0:46:540:46:57

Because someone coming in here will look at these pictures

0:46:570:47:01

and the first thing, if they don't know about it, they'll think, "What are they made with?"

0:47:010:47:05

They're not oil, they're not gouache, they're not watercolour.

0:47:050:47:09

They are something new, aren't they?

0:47:090:47:12

The quality of the colour is different.

0:47:120:47:14

There are new forms of printing about, and unless you're...

0:47:140:47:19

If you're just printing colour photographs from them,

0:47:190:47:23

you're not going to get that much interesting...

0:47:230:47:25

What you put in the machine will come out.

0:47:250:47:28

And I began to be aware that you could, if you...

0:47:280:47:31

For instance, I knew these pictures were going to be

0:47:310:47:35

-about five-foot high, when I'm drawing them on the iPad.

-Yes.

0:47:350:47:38

And in a way, you begin to draw knowing about the printing machine,

0:47:380:47:43

-what colours will do.

-Yeah, I see.

0:47:430:47:46

And it's a very free method. You can see they're hand-drawn.

0:47:460:47:50

You can see the hand working.

0:47:500:47:54

And it's the most direct thing I've ever come across.

0:47:540:47:58

I will point out, you couldn't have done this without a massive wall,

0:47:580:48:03

because you have to print them out to see them, and sometimes,

0:48:030:48:07

when I print them out, I then go back to work on it.

0:48:070:48:09

You think, "Well, I'll work on this area, do this," and you can, you see,

0:48:090:48:13

but without a vast wall, you wouldn't even conceive it,

0:48:130:48:18

because you have to see the print. You have to see it printed like this.

0:48:180:48:23

But I then realised, "This is moving into newer territory with the iPad,"

0:48:230:48:29

and if you understand the printing machine and draw accordingly,

0:48:290:48:33

you can get very, very good things.

0:48:330:48:36

You are working phenomenally hard.

0:48:360:48:39

For those people who go, "David Hockney,

0:48:390:48:42

"swimming pools, Californian sun, bit of a hedonist,

0:48:420:48:45

"probably hangs around..."

0:48:450:48:46

Just tell me about how hard you're working and have been for the last seven years.

0:48:460:48:50

Well, I would point this out. An artist can support hedonism

0:48:500:48:56

but he can't be a hedonist himself, because artists are workers.

0:48:560:49:00

By the definition, they work.

0:49:000:49:02

But you could support the idea of hedonism.

0:49:020:49:04

You're in favour of it in principle. In practice, you're out there

0:49:040:49:07

in your gumboots and your cap in all weathers.

0:49:070:49:10

Yeah.

0:49:100:49:12

In the biting Yorkshire wind.

0:49:120:49:14

So was Matisse, wasn't he? I mean,

0:49:140:49:16

you have to notice what the artist does and not what they say, really.

0:49:160:49:21

There's a very interesting poster that's going up at the beginning,

0:49:240:49:28

which says that all the artworks here

0:49:280:49:31

were made by the hand of the artist himself.

0:49:310:49:34

-Personally, by himself.

-I wonder, there's no agenda there?

0:49:340:49:38

-You're not referring to anybody else, I'm sure, are you?

-HE LAUGHS

0:49:380:49:42

Well, I am, actually, yeah. Well, it's an argument about the hand.

0:49:420:49:46

-Yes.

-Remember... I would say the hand counts. Yes,

-I

-would.

0:49:460:49:52

-But there are a whole school of artists who say it wouldn't.

-Yes.

0:49:520:49:57

-Damien Hirst and all that lot.

-Yeah, Gilbert and George would.

0:49:570:50:01

They use it because the reason they would play down the hand

0:50:010:50:05

is because there's two of them, and really only one of them

0:50:050:50:08

uses the hand, but you don't know which it is.

0:50:080:50:12

But otherwise, frankly, it's a little bit insulting to craftsmen, isn't it?

0:50:130:50:19

-You're an artist but you have to be a craftsman as well.

-Yes.

0:50:210:50:24

-It's, "What is art and what is craft?"

-Yeah.

0:50:240:50:28

Yeah, in fact, I used to point out, in an art school,

0:50:280:50:32

you can teach the craft.

0:50:320:50:34

It's the poetry you can't teach.

0:50:340:50:37

But now they try to teach the poetry and forget the craft.

0:50:370:50:41

It's craft that can be taught. You can teach skills,

0:50:410:50:45

and skills are practised, aren't they?

0:50:450:50:47

Lift it up a bit, Jonathan. Up.

0:50:500:50:55

Hockey's been picking up some new skills.

0:50:550:50:57

With his team in Bridlington he's begun making films.

0:50:570:51:02

His big idea was to mount a grid of nine cameras onto a Jeep.

0:51:020:51:07

One picture, but nine subtly different points of view.

0:51:070:51:11

I'd used one camera occasionally but I did begin to see,

0:51:130:51:18

well, you could now start making different-looking films

0:51:180:51:22

because the cameras have got smaller.

0:51:220:51:26

Very small, actually. You don't need a camera this big at all, do you?

0:51:260:51:30

So you could put a few together.

0:51:300:51:34

This is kind of... Cleopatra would have had cameras like this, really.

0:51:340:51:40

The subject matter is the same as the paintings -

0:51:420:51:45

nature in all its seasons, and all its detail.

0:51:450:51:49

And it's the only way you can make a new bigger picture.

0:51:510:51:55

They think the only way is to just project it bigger,

0:51:550:51:58

but the bigger you project it, remember - and it's the same time

0:51:580:52:01

in every part of the screen -

0:52:010:52:03

the bigger you're projecting it, therefore, it's going to get flatter and flatter,

0:52:030:52:08

because you're not really adding time or anything.

0:52:080:52:12

The only way you can add time to it is this way,

0:52:120:52:15

in this form, a kind of collage.

0:52:150:52:18

And so, you're not... You're not telling the observer where to look.

0:52:180:52:22

We're not telling you where to look at all.

0:52:220:52:25

'And here's a moment for both of us to shut up

0:52:260:52:30

'and you, the viewer, to simply look.'

0:52:300:52:33

'At the Royal Academy, nine screens have become 18.' Wow.

0:53:090:53:14

These are still using nine cameras.

0:53:170:53:20

All we did to use the 18 screens was move it along in time.

0:53:200:53:26

So I then realised, my God, you could also draw,

0:53:260:53:30

not just in space, in time, actually, with it.

0:53:300:53:33

And I was rather thrilled by this, because I thought,

0:53:330:53:37

-"Well, it is a critique of one camera."

-Yes.

0:53:370:53:42

However much definition you get from it,

0:53:420:53:46

it's still one picture with the same time in every part of the picture.

0:53:460:53:52

-You're told where to look.

-And you're told where to look. Here,

0:53:520:53:56

it's a different time in 18 parts of the picture,

0:53:560:54:00

and you're not told where to look, so you begin to scan,

0:54:000:54:03

which is what we do in reality -

0:54:030:54:05

it's never the same time in each moment,

0:54:050:54:08

so we probably make the space from time in some way.

0:54:080:54:12

Photography's not the ultimate thing.

0:54:120:54:15

I mean, it means it's just a stage in a way of picture-making

0:54:150:54:19

that is now altering, because there's the technology.

0:54:190:54:24

Here we're making a bigger picture, I think.

0:54:240:54:27

And so I rather enjoy saying, "You at the television,

0:54:270:54:31

"well, we can make a bigger picture than you can."

0:54:310:54:35

And perhaps that's, as I say, why we have not looked at something.

0:54:350:54:41

I think pictures make us look at the world. They make us see things.

0:54:410:54:45

And that single camera might have... I always used to say,

0:54:450:54:50

"Well, a television picture's too poky.

0:54:500:54:53

"You don't see enough."

0:54:530:54:54

And maybe that's me being...

0:54:540:54:57

I'm a bit claustrophobic, for instance. I like great big spaces.

0:54:570:55:03

So it might be just me, that, but nevertheless,

0:55:030:55:05

some other people have agreed with me after seeing this.

0:55:050:55:09

-Do you know the Fellini film The Ship Sails On?

-No.

0:55:110:55:15

You can get it on DVD.

0:55:150:55:18

It's all about the difficulties of depiction...

0:55:180:55:22

As you walk around the show, it's impossible

0:55:240:55:27

not to be moved by all the restless colour and the shimmy of life,

0:55:270:55:33

but when you get to Winter Timber, you can't help thinking about mortality.

0:55:330:55:37

The cut wood is shocking

0:55:370:55:40

and the deep colours a garishly bold statement,

0:55:400:55:43

almost angry.

0:55:430:55:44

At 74, David Hockney's reinvented himself as a landscape painter

0:55:440:55:50

but perhaps that's what makes The Arrival Of Spring so impressive.

0:55:500:55:55

This feels like a very young painting,

0:55:550:55:58

capturing that moment of renewal

0:55:580:56:00

when the new leaves seem to be floating in space.

0:56:000:56:04

In the year past, we've lost another friend of yours,

0:56:090:56:12

the great painter Lucian Freud, and as YOU get older,

0:56:120:56:16

you seem to be working harder and harder.

0:56:160:56:18

You're sort of flinging yourself into more and more projects,

0:56:180:56:22

and I wonder if there's a sense of acceleration,

0:56:220:56:25

hunger, to complete projects and to find new ones

0:56:250:56:29

that's to do with getting older.

0:56:290:56:31

Well, probably. Because, frankly, if I'm not busy, I'm hopeless, me.

0:56:310:56:38

My friends tell me that. "It's always good if you're working, David.

0:56:380:56:42

"You're terrible if you're not working." And, anyway, I want to.

0:56:420:56:47

A lot of artists get very active as they get older. A lot.

0:56:470:56:53

I certainly don't want to slow down. I mean, I always work.

0:56:530:56:58

I don't stop working.

0:56:580:57:00

I'd say, look, we're on a roll and if we're on a roll,

0:57:000:57:02

just keep it going, because it will stop eventually,

0:57:020:57:07

but we don't know when,

0:57:070:57:08

and we're doing it in the paintings, drawings, everything.

0:57:080:57:12

Let's keep it going as much as we can.

0:57:120:57:15

And I intend to, and I still intend to. We haven't stopped.

0:57:150:57:19

Yeah, I feel very, very active. I'm not feeling...

0:57:190:57:24

And, actually, I think... I even think we're a bit ahead as well,

0:57:240:57:29

-meaning not many people are exploring these areas.

-The new future?

0:57:290:57:34

As I say, I realise there are problems with all kinds of depiction.

0:57:340:57:39

I'm interested in depiction. Not all artists are, but I am,

0:57:390:57:44

and I will go on being interested in it.

0:57:440:57:47

There's nothing here that is political painting

0:57:490:57:52

and yet it seems to me that, you know, at a time

0:57:520:57:55

when people are worried about England

0:57:550:57:57

and the condition of England and so on,

0:57:570:57:59

they think it's all going away,

0:57:590:58:01

actually, what you're saying to people is, "Look harder and it's not.

0:58:010:58:04

-"It's all still there."

-Yes, it is.

-Is that true? Is that fair?

-It is. Yes, it is. It is, actually.

0:58:040:58:10

And it's very beautiful.

0:58:100:58:12

We live in a very, very beautiful part of the world that has...

0:58:120:58:17

As I say, it has seasons that change.

0:58:170:58:20

Ruskin said there was no such thing as bad weather in England.

0:58:200:58:24

He pointed out it's never too hot, it's never too cold.

0:58:240:58:29

It's always bearable.

0:58:290:58:31

If you want a green garden, you've got to have rain.

0:58:310:58:34

I mean, it's all part of it. I agree with him.

0:58:340:58:37

I mean, I criticise a bit when they say the weather's bad

0:58:370:58:40

on the weather forecast. I always think, "For who?"

0:58:400:58:43

You know? I mean...

0:58:430:58:44

When it's... The moment it snows in Brid, we go out to see it.

0:58:440:58:49

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:59:020:59:07

David Hockney, widely considered to be Britain's best-loved living artist, has taken over the Royal Academy in London with his exhibition A Bigger Picture made up of recent works depicting the landscape of his native Yorkshire.

In this programme, Andrew Marr, a friend of Hockney's and an amateur painter himself, is in conversation with the artist, both at his home in Bridlington and in the galleries of the RA.


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