I became fascinated by the changing urban landscape in London from 2001, the beginning of the huge construction upheaval in our neighbourhood, near King’s Cross St Pancras. Until then, my subjects had been largely rural, particularly the Friesian fenlands of my native Netherlands.
The turning point came when I saw one of the huge iron gasometers being lifted by a crane to be taken away for demolition. I realised then that the destruction of this part of Victorian history should be recorded visually.
One thing has led to another — work at King’s Cross St Pancras gave me the opportunity to record the construction of Arsenal’s strangely elegant Emirates Stadium, followed by the Kings Place arts and media centre and the Olympic Stadium at Stratford. By accident rather than by design, I became the first artist-in-residence at this extraordinary work-in-progress.
Woodcutting is the original and most basic technique of image reproduction. I thought it would be fascinating to combine this form with a much newer technique of reproduction by carving a video still into soft wood and then hand-printing the image-a process which can take up to ten months for an individual woodcut.
Video footage of roads and military aircraft is used in order to create a contrast between the rapidity of the video images and the slowness of the technique-between high speed and almost a standstill.
The computer is a useful tool. Photoshop is a computer tool for picture making. It in effect allows you to draw directly in a printing machine, one of its many uses. One draws with the colours the printing machine has, and the printing machine is one anyone can have. They are now superior to any other kind of printing, but because it’s very slow, of limited commercial appeal.
I used to think the computer was too slow for a draughtsman. You had finished a line, and the computer was 15 seconds later, an absurd position for someone drawing, but things have improved, and it now enables one to draw very freely and fast with colour. There are advantages and disadvantages to anything new in mediums for artists, but the speed allowed here with colour is something new; swapping brushes in the hand with oil or watercolour takes time.
All oil on canvas.
The pictures featured here form part of an exhibition in Germany of David Hockney’s paintings of his native countryside, reviewed here by Michael Prodger. Prodger writes: “He is in the process of redefining East Yorkshire as Hockney Country.”
These paintings can be viewed at Hockney’s “Just Nature” exhibition at the Kunsthalle Wurth, in Schwabisch Hall, Germany, until 27 September
ALL IMAGES © DAVID HOCKNEY
After a long experience in photo-realist drawing, we started experimenting with a new technique of drawing in combination with digital technologies, in order to create a simulation of black and white photography. Between 2000 and 2006, we developed two series: fictitious photographs and film stills from non-existent movies. Sometimes our clichés , or simulations, feature screen icons-Terence Stamp, Donald Sutherland, Isabelle Adjani and Marilyn Manson, among others-in movies that were never made. But most of the time, we produce anonymous celebrities whose identities escape us, but who somehow seem familiar to anyone used to the stereotyped Western mass media and pop culture. This sensation of déjà vu reinforces the photographic illusion of our pictures. The French philosopher Marc Jimenez, referring to possible alliances between art and technology, perfectly sums up the state of our fake photographs project, in which nothing is quite what it seems.