The iPad: David Hockney’s (and possibly art’s) New Canvas

In I tried... on October 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

Paris Sets the Stage for the British Artist’s Revolutionary Exhibition and Marks the Beginning of a New Age in Modern Art


A digital painting on Hockney's iPhone app "Brushes"



In 2008, the ever innovative David Hockney (only one of the most celebrated ‘pop’ artists since Andy Warhol) discovered the brushes application on his iPhone. Using only his thumb, which without thinking, he would wipe off on his clothing as if he were smudging real materials on a canvas, Hockney drew vibrant still life flowers and backlit dawns from the comfort of his bed.

It pleased him to e-mail a dozen or more of his iPhone creations to close friends and relatives. “Everyone opened my e-mails first,” he says, “because they didn’t contain any demands or requests– only pleasures. My flowers don’t need water, but they do need batteries.”

In 2010, Hockney has moved his new-found idiom for the digital age onto Apple’s latest and most coveted gadget– the iPad. Now using his index finger, which he admits is more challenging because “you can’t fudge it,” Hockney has created over 1,000 digital works.

This week at the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris,  in what will be the world’s first art installation of its kind,  iPad and iPhone screens will  replace the traditional canvas and exhibit David Hockney’s pixilated paintings. The retrospective exhibition is appropriately named, “Fleurs Fraîches” (fresh flowers) because the  world-famous British artist will regularly refresh the installation’s devices by adding his latest and ‘freshest’ images. Don’t be surprised if his art is soon being simultaneously streamed into various art museums around the world, streaming at a museum near you! Mr. Hockney sees the irony in his incorporation of technology into his art remarking that on his new digital canvas, “you can only view these high-tech drawings one at a time. To see a group of them together, you have to go back to an old-fashioned exhibition.”


A Preview of the Exhibition in Paris


The financial side of the art world might detect a ‘problem’ with Mr. Hockney’s unassuming and no doubt, influential new line of work. While a David Hockney original pop art painting can fetch for over £1 million at auction, how is a digital painting, accessible to own at the click of a mouse on Google images, ever going to make the art establishment any cash? Well I suppose they won’t have to look much further than the tempting little icon pre-installed on all of our latest Apple gadgets, the AppStore. “The iHockney”– his greatest works collected into an app available to millions of modern art aficionados. I see dollar signs.

Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with that eye-rolling question, “But is it art?”


Below: Untitled David Hockney iPad Works

While the ‘artificial’ brush strokes are something to get used to, I’m rather fond of how very brazen and unpretentious the works are. Pop Art at its best in a long time, MessyNessy thinks! Fun and accessible.

Fleurs Fraîches opens on October 20th at the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris, marking the opening of FIAC– International Contemporary Art Fair Paris (21st-24th October

Has this post inspired you to get creative on your iPad/Pod/Phone?

Images via Vanity Fair November 2010


  1. very inspiration..

  2. in this they used iPad to create reall cool Art work.
    they used their fingers to created any type of sculture

  3. I don’t think the Ipad art can cause an art revolution. It doesn’t change the art from back in the days. It’s not creative at all. I mean it is nice but it just isn’t art to me.

    2. I don’t think it is real art at all. It doesn’t show creativity. It doesn’t top the art from back in the days. They art usually represents something. It has a symbolism to it.

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