David Hockney: “I’ve never been mainstream. Just be yourself”

Published 21 July 2017

To celebrate David Hockney’s 80th birthday, filmmaker Bruno Wollheim has released 80 previously unseen short films made with the artist. Watch three of them here.

  • Between 2004–2009, filmmaker Bruno Wollheim had unprecedented access to film David Hockney RA for what eventually became the award-winning documentary David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (Coluga Pictures, 2009). Wollheim shadowed Hockney on his travels between his homes in Los Angeles and the UK, filming him at work in the Yorkshire countryside and in his studios, and preparing for exhibitions including the 2007 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (when he unveiled his huge painting Bigger Trees Near Warter) and his blockbuster 2012 landscape show, also at the RA.

    With 120 hours of footage to choose from, many gems didn’t make the final cut, and to celebrate Hockney’s recent 80th birthday, Wollheim has released 80 previously unseen short clips that can be viewed online.

    “What comes through these little films is what a special moment this time was for David,” Wollheim says. “He’d come back to his Yorkshire roots from California, his painting was at its most fluent and his restless soul had found a measure of contentment. Together they’re a mud-and-flies love letter.

    "I’d forgotten quite how extraordinary David is, his buzzing mind, his original outlook on life, art, the experience of looking at the world and his gift for language.”

    Watch three of the short films here:

  • "I Like Perversity"

    Filmed beside the pool at his home in the Hollywood Hills in 2005, David Hockney reflects on what it means to be outside the mainstream - and why illustration can be great art.

  • Assurance

    Taking a break from painting outdoors in the Yorkshire countryside in 2004, David Hockney discusses his early career and where his confidence comes from.

  • Stairway to Heaven or Hell

    A look behind the scenes at how Hockney and his studio team prepare for exhibitions using scale models of the spaces in question – in this case, the staircase at Tate Britain, where a selection of Hockney’s landscape paintings were hung to complement an exhibition of Turner watercolours that the artist curated in 2007.

  • Visit www.a-bigger-picture.com to watch more short films from the project David Hockney 80 and to stream David Hockney: A Bigger Picture on a pay-per-play basis. A DVD of the documentary is available to buy online and in the RA Shop.

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