Hockney (15)

Directed by Randall Wright
Picturehouse, Liverpool
28th November - 4th December 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is an absorbing documentary about one of Britain's leading artists, notably in Pop Art, although probably less so if his work fails to touch a chord with you.

I admire his work a lot, both his paintings and photography, and although he makes a lot of money from sales you get the feeling that his main motivation is not the filthy lucre but that he is totally dedicated to his calling. Aged 77 he is still a prolific and highly talented artist and admits he will die on his feet creating his latest work.

I found the most dramatic scene of the documentary the home footage of crashing waves lashing against his beach house in Malibu, starkly symbolishing the devastation wrought by HIV on the gay community throughout the world, while he was based there in the 1980s, which killed two thirds of his friends and associates.

On a more serene level director Randall Wright's shots of glittering blue water in swimming pools, often a favourite subject matter for Hockney, were mesmerising.

There are numerous anecdotes about the Bradford -born artist - he still possesses a broad Yorkshire accent - including his recollections of how 'going to the pictures' as a child took him away from the dingy setting of the industrial city and helped inspire him in his later art.

There is a lot of insight into the techniques Hockney applies to his subject matters, which a lot of other artists would not reveal to the public.

Although nearing 80 he is aware of modern IT equipment, which can help develop his art, including the use of IPhones and IPads. The same person comes from the last generation to grow up without television. What a blessing that must have been!

If you fail to see this on the big screen it will be shown on BBC1 early in 2015.

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