42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2011
This book is a pleasure to read; handsomely produced with attractive illustrations and a ribbon bookmark, you feel like a privileged third person in the room as Gayford talks to Hockney about everything from why Monet got up early in the morning to drawing on an iPad. Their discussions are copiously illustrated, so as a reader you always feel engaged. Excellent.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2011
I'd always enjoyed David Hockney's work but had never really analysed why. I found that this book helped me appreciate what I was seeing especially the evocation of space, the changing of the seasons and the infinity of nature.
I was interested to learn how Hockney has used computers and modern technology to enable the composition of his more recent work, Bigger Trees - in the past he has used photocopiers and fax machines to create his work - he has never belonged to any school or movement but produces fresh, original paintings which reflect his forward-thinking, enquiring mind
To me, David Hockney is to art what Alan Bennett is to literature. There is no unnecessary detail in their work but so much is conveyed in a deceptively simple manner. The dialogue conveys Hockney's dry wit and apart from being of general autobiographical interest contains valuable information for students of art.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Martin Gayford's new book about David Hockney is not a biography, but rather a series of on-going conversations Gayford had with Hockney over a ten or so year period in many locations. Most were at Hockney's house in a secluded area in East Yorkshire, where he moved after having lived in Los Angeles for many years. The conversations, which make up the basis of the book, give full rein to Hockney's endless interest in almost every kind of creative endeavor.
David Hockney is 74 years old and has been immersed in creativity of one sort or another since childhood. He's dabbled in photography, computer graphics, stage design, and many other forms in addition to his well-known paintings. He seems to be constantly asking questions about how and why both living things and art - in all its forms - come to life. The influences of past artists and designers on his work is readily acknowledged by Hockney. He's had a prodigious creative output in the past 55 years and until I read Gayford's book, I never realised how pervasive Hockney's influence has been on current artists. He seems to be an on-going link from past creativity to current and future creativity.
Author Martin Gayford know what questions to ask David Hockney to get the best and most interesting answers. He's a long-time art critic in London and knows artists and their foibles and seems to work with those foibles to make fascinating articles and books. I've read his recent book on Lucien Freud, which was every bit as well-written as this one on David Hockney. For anyone wanting to know more about David Hockney, his genius and the work that flows from that genius, this is a good book to read. Gayford includes examples of most of the artwork being discussed - that work by Hockney as well as other artists - as well as a good timeline of Hockney's life. Reading this book is a wonderful experience.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2011
A truly excellent book . Like many other Hockney publications; the artist is envolved with the author/ editor of the book which gives a true account from the artist himself, but it is up to date with his latest work as well as recalling the old.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2012
My early experience of art was not encouraging. My parents had no interest in it, and although my primary school doodles were tolerated, I received a severe come-uppance at the end of my first term at senior school, when the school's art `teacher' wrote in my report: "He tries hard, but his hands remain a fairly useless part of his anatomy".
I laughed it off at the time, thinking "what a bitch, and we've all noticed how she's far too partial to the sherry", but felt quite hurt, gave up art as soon as I could, and turned my attention towards becoming an accountant, despite Monty Python's warnings. Against expectation, I eventually succeeded in this endeavour.
Although cruelly thwarted at a tender age as a creator of art, I have since obtained much pleasure as an untutored consumer from seeing paintings, drawings and sculptures in galleries and exhibitions.
"A Bigger Message" is the only book about the process of art that I have read, and my inspiration was "A Bigger Picture", Hockney's recent grand show at the Royal Academy, London, which I enjoyed immensely on my two visits. As well as finding the paintings and films beautiful, I was impressed and fascinated by the artist's relentless curiosity and restlessness. He seemed constantly to be experimenting with technique, seeking new ways to capture and express the visual world in pictures, and more recently in film, and exploring how new technology might be harnessed to create and share his work.
For me this book superbly complements the exhibition, exploring ideas and themes that emerged from it, and explaining what Hockney was seeking to convey in some of the work, and why he adopted certain approaches. I recall talking with a friend after we'd seen the exhibition together, and realising that the Polaroid collage pieces of the 80s were direct predecessors of the wonderful nine-camera film collages he presented at "A Bigger Picture", and how this perhaps better reflects the visual reality we see than do single vantage point despictions. This is discussed and elaborated upon in the book.
For the book is not just about art, it is about seeing, how we process and filter the myriad information our eyes take in, and how our interpretations may be influenced by implicit deep-rooted cultural assumptions. There are conversations about photography, and how it imposes upon our view of reality, about the perils of the `vanishing point' which is deeply embedded in western art, less so in other cultures. There are discussions about what makes artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso so good, and much else.
Perhaps partly a result of Hockney's Yorkshire heritage, the language is direct and clear throughout, the ideas expressed with the utmost simplicity, without recourse to jargon or unexplained technical terms. This is a book anyone who understands English and reads books could easily follow and understand, if they had an interest in the subject matter.
In the hardback edition I read, the many illustrations, mostly in colour, are beautifully reproduced and match the text very well.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Although I was aware of David Hockney from his Californian Swimming Pool paintings, I was never strongly attracted to his work. That was until recently when I happened across a documentary on his involvement with 'A Bigger Picture'. I have since come to strongly appreciate his excellent draughtsmanship skills and find his bold colours most appealing. It seems that we both highly value a number of things in common. I am fascinated with landscape; with passing seasons and with trees. These shared interests brought me to buy this book which provides valuable insights into his most recent artistic activities. Apart from it being beautifully illustrated and highly informative, it is such an easy and pleasant read. It was interesting to note that, being of the same generation, the cinema shaped much of our early visual perception. Like Hockney, I was in my teens before my family had a TV in the home. Like him, I have also developed a strong interest in digital photography and am fascinated with the potential of the iPhone and iPad and the way they will affect our future perception. This book is now a treasured addition to my library and will be returned and referred to many times in the future for my personal enjoyment.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2012
When I was at school I was amazed at the effect a course on drawing had on my perception of things. Later when I turned to photography, I concluded that the best way to improve my photography was to take up drawing again. Then I heard on Desert Island Disks a revered photographer recommend three tips for would-be photographers - 1) learn the techniques, 2) forget the techniques, 3) start looking! Martin Gayford, thanks to David Hockney, has in this book made me think about these fundamentals again.
This book is full of ideas. One wonders if Hockney could ever say anything uninteresting or dull. Even though not sure about his art (for now), I found this book an eye-opening and exciting read.