British artist David Hockney has always been influenced by place. When he arrived in Los Angeles during the mid-1950s, he was captivated by light and painted exteriors. It was the first time he painted architecture and the outside world, including palm trees.
Today, at 85, he lives in Normandy, France, and is still painting what he sees. According to his longtime friend Peter Goulds, it includes the rich nature of his surrounding area — all drawn on an iPad. The art’s part of an exhibition called 20 Flowers and Some Bigger Pictures, now on display in the LA Louver Gallery, founded by Goulds.
Some of Hockney’s pieces on display include colorful vases, filled with flowers sitting on top of a checkered tablecloth.
“This was started just out of the corner of his eye. He saw a vase of flowers and he thought, ‘I should start thinking about it.’ It was rather cold outside in February. And so this became the first one. And then he realized, ‘Wait a minute, this has something to it. I should progress further,’” Goulds tells KCRW.
Using the iPad as a canvas, Hockney creates large, multi-panel landscapes that evoke 19th century French Impressionists. He takes formal scenes, like a pond or outbuildings around his property, and renders them modern through his tablet. Using different kinds of stylus, including some that are custom-made, he creates what looks like paintbrush strokes.
“Here’s this 85-year-old artist who’s still fascinated by imagemaking. That’s his whole thing — using the technology is simply another way to make an image,” Goulds explains.