Sunday, October 23, 2011


By David Hockney
Today at the ROM I witnessed a woman using an iPhone to photograph a projection of some of David Hockney's iPhone/iPad-drawn "Fresh Flowers". Let me explain. This guy discovered an iPhone app for drawing and he thought it was a pretty convenient medium so he made a whole bunch of these drawings. Not actually a surprising use of technology for creating art, generally you would see images like these at home on your own computer. A Facebook app for drawing called "Graffiti" came out a while back and it was all the rage for about a week. Though I have actually seen people make some impressive stuff using that app. Stuff that would knock David Hockney's socks off. Below is a drawing I did using "Graffiti" back in the day for comparison's sake.

By me

I occasionally like how Hockney draws light, especially on mugs, glass, and sometimes in the sky, but overall I dislike the digital look. I'm more impressed when I can't tell that an image was even drawn digitally. While my preferences are inevitably a product of my own digital generation, this must be pretty crazy stuff for an old guy like Hockney.

Regardless, I have to give him props because this is the first time I've seen this sort of art displayed in a major museum.  What's more, he displayed them on iPads and iPhones fixed to the walls. I was struck by the fact that the cost of the art would be entirely in its mode of display. Actually creating each piece is free once you already have your iPad. Seeing some of the drawings projected larger onto the walls, I couldn't help but anticipate the invention of enormous iPads purposed as digital canvases. Maybe all the pro artists will have one in 2015.

By David Hockney
Or people will realize that iArt wasn't meant to be taken so seriously. In his exhibit book, Hockney wrote that at first he would send his drawings to his friends who commented on how "direct the drawings seemed as they held the iPhone in their own hand." I almost feel that this personal connection, the viral aspect, and the fun aspect are lost by putting the drawings on the wall of the ROM. Unfortunately, artists have to make money.

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