I consider David Hockney one of the world’s finest artists. Born in Britain, he moved to Los Angeles. He currently lives in France. The subject of Perspective is of particular interest to him.
The vanishing point is that point in a picture upon which all lines converge to give the viewer the impression of depth from a flat surface.
“Cubism,” Hockney said, “was an attack on the perspective that had been known and used for 500 years. It was the first big, big change. It confused people: they said, ‘Things don’t look like that!’ ”
Hockney in his later work took perspective one step further by placing the vanishing point with the observer in front of the picture rather than in it. The painting appears to expand outward like a giant parabolic reflector with the viewer and the artist at the point of focus. To add to the effect, Hockney used reds and greens, and reds and blues, to amplify the illusion of depth using color rather than form. This is called chromostereopsis.
By any measure, his uses of light, color, and design are phenomenal.
He takes photographs almost constantly for record-keeping rather than for art.
In the documentary, Hockney, he says that one looks at a photograph for much longer than the time required to create it. With paintings, it is the opposite.
“Photographs aren’t accounts of scrutiny. The shutter is open for a fraction of a second.”
It is that scrutiny that is palpable in a painting.
Many of his creative friends and acquaintances in New York died of AIDS during the eighties. One moment they were there, and then they were gone. Lights, thousands of lights, were put out.
Speaking for myself, when I think of the many, many thousands, not just in New York, who were extinguished during that time, I cannot help but wonder what the world would have been like had they lived? The true loss I think, can be measured in the dystopia we see around us. I don’t believe the world would be so dark now, if they were here. Sometimes we see the significance of an event not by what it creates, but by what it took away.
Thankfully, we still have David Hockney working daily, and that is a blessing for us all.
One last quote:
“The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you are an artist.”