A recent poll conducted in 2011 by ‘The Other Art Fair’ asked thousands of artists all over the country whom they thought was the most influential artist in the United Kingdom. The winner was David Hockney.
Bridlington based Hockney is in the process of making new work in homage of his home county by creating an official tourist trail to a number of sites across Yorkshire with a particular focus on those places which he has painted and taken inspiration from in the East Riding’s Yorkshire Wolds.
The exhibition will not be a retrospective like many would assume, but an amalgamation of almost entirely new work. The usual Hockney drawings, watercolours and oil paintings can be expected but also works created using the new medium of the iPad, extraordinary films shot on 18 high-definition cameras and a new approach to collaboration which Hockney has famously been reluctant to use in the past, Tourism.
The artist has agreed to work with the county’s tourist board, Welcome To Yorkshire, to create an official tourist trail, to correctly identify the sites at which he has worked. Being a very private artist, famous for politely declining a Knighthood in 1990 and moving to Los Angeles because of the lack of the celebrity-chasing that he experienced here in Britain, Hockney does not wish for his paintings to result in an influx of people to the Wolds altering its natural atmosphere and appeal. This may be indeed why Bridlington was not included, to secure his privacy in case the trail inspires Hockney Hunters on finding his studio!
However, the sites likely to be featured would include the village of Warter where he painted Bigger Trees, subsequently chopped down and Bigger Trees Near Warter which still exist. Other areas include Garrowby Hill and Sledmere, both of which inspired re-imagined workings of the landscapes he knows and loves, rather than ones painted in the open air such as those at Warter. Also, the steep valley village of Thixendale, where he has painted Three Trees through the Seasons might also be on the trail, as well as Woldgate Woods, outside the village of Kilham, both of which have a role in the coming exhibition.
We know Hockney famously for his photo collage, using Polaroid cameras he assembled collages of photos that he would take as quickly as possible. Hockney was fascinated with the idea of seeing things through a window frame. It is clear he has a eye for composition, and a passion to explore new tools and technology. What is anticipated most in this upcoming exhibition is Hockney’s experimentation with such rising technology. Where once he would have reached out for his sketchpad now he keeps his IPad close, enabling him to paint a picture using all the colours of the palette on various ‘Apps’ he uses. It’s incredible to think that so soon after Steve Jobs first presented the IPad, artists are using it as a tool to produce and create work. What’s more his relationship to colour is fascinating considering how he was born with synaesthesia whereby he sees synaesthetic colours to musical stimuli. This does not show up in his painting or photography artwork too much, however, when viewing his work you can begin to imagine the colours and process of painting with regard to this condition.
Venture further a field and take the unofficial David Hockney Art Trail by adventuring through the Yorkshire countryside, scouring the area for the specific locations that proved inspiration behind Hockney’s very aptly name paintings. Whether it be ‘The Road to York through Sledmere’ or ‘Wheat Field near Fridaythorpe’ feast your eyes on some very picturesque landscapes. If you are an appreciator of David Hockney or whether you just appreciate the beauty of the Yorkshire Wolds this could well make for a pretty splendid day out.
(With the route suitable for both cyclists and drivers head to the starting point that is suggested to be the Village of Shiptonthorpe on the York to Hull Road, the A1079. Break your trip down into the legs that the googlemap suggests and enjoy the ‘rolling chalk hills’ and the serene locations).
For full details of the trail click here.