Sat alongside his beloved dog Ruby, Hockney is currently in lockdown at his home in Normandy “with a large garden that was cheaper than anything in Sussex”. His two long-standing assistants, JP and Jonathan, have been helping him produce a new series of works created using an iPad to help bring some joy to those in self-isolation.
“I began drawing the winter trees on a new iPad. Then this virus started,” explained Hockney.
The ten vibrant images, nine of which have never before been published, were revealed in a BBC exclusive this week. Hockney drew inspiration from his rural surroundings in Normandy, from blossom trees and flowers to local houses and wildlife.
“I went on drawing the winter trees that eventually burst into blossom. This is the stage we are right now. Meanwhile the virus is going mad, and many people said my drawings were a great respite from what was going on.”
Bradford-born Hockney rose to fame in the 1960’s as one of the leading figures in the pop art movement. His incredibly diverse artistic output includes painting, printmaking, stage designing, and photography. Over the last ten years, Hockney has ventured into the innovative world of digital drawings, releasing a book called ‘My Window’ of his favourite iPad creations.
Recalling his discovery of an exciting new way to make art, hockney said “there was great advantage in this medium because it’s backlit and I could draw in the dark. I didn’t ever have to get out of bed.”
In line with UK government guidance about Covid-19, the National Portrait Gallery recently shut down a major exhibition on Hockney’s drawings three months before its intended closure date. The prolific artist, however, continues to spread positivity through his newest collection of colourful drawings that he hopes will remind viewers to appreciate the important things in life during these troubling times.