David Hockney My Window on the world

David Hockney My Window on the world

But David Hockney, one of the Artmarket Gallery’s favourite artists, shows no sign of it. Not only does he continue to work at pace, but he often does it using technology that can be baffling to those half his age.

Take the recent commission to design a huge stained glass window for the north transept of Westminster Abbey, for instance. Only Hockney would have tackled this centuries-old art form on an iPad.

Installed in 2018 to celebrate the lengthy reign of one of the few other senior citizens who seems to be able to match Hockney’s remarkable energy and zest for life, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen’s Window depicts in glorious, vibrant colour a scene on the Yorkshire Wolds. 

Beneath a brilliant blue spring sky, a red path threads its way through hawthorn trees laden with white blossom. Hockney chose the flower for its celebratory symbolism – he thinks it looks as though foaming champagne has been poured over the trees.

John Hall, the Dean of Westminster at the time, told The Guardian: “To have a country scene for a woman who absolutely loves the country… is an ideal celebration. This is not a commemoration, it is a celebration. [It] has an amazing brightness and clarity, it is a simple, utterly readable, direct scene.

“It is wonderful to have something which is utterly contemporary from one of the greatest artists of the Queen's reign."
Hockney himself said that it felt natural for him to design the piece – his first-ever stained glass work – on an iPad because the tablet itself is backlit, like a window. 
The man famed for his love of new technology – his artistic materials in the past have included Polaroids, photocopiers and faxes, amongst other now outmoded innovations – began working with Apple kit in the late 2000s when he first got an iPhone. 

He would often begin his day by sketching on his phone the flowers on his bedside table, often sending them as a sort of virtual bouquet to his friends.
The arrival in 2010 of the iPad, with its larger screen and built-in Brushes app, gave him ever-greater artistic freedom – light and portable, he could take the device with him anywhere as the ultimate sketchpad. That same year, he told The Telegraph: “Anyone who likes drawing and mark-making will like to explore new media.”

And when he was still living in Bridlington in the early 2010s he would often beat the East Yorkshire winter chill by ‘painting’ in bed on his iPad, a practice we believe he’s continued since his move to the considerably warmer climes of California.

The view from his window there will be very different to that from his Bridlington semi – but you can bet his portrayals of it will be as personal and as colourful as ever.

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