David Hockney ditches the easel for the iPad

More than 200 Hockney images of plants and cut flowers created on the iPhone and iPad will be on display through January 30 in Paris.

Hockey's "Sans Titre," created on an iPhone, is among the florals currently on display in Paris. The famed artist e-mails new images in to refresh the exhibit. David Hockney, courtesy of Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent

The great David Hockney has traded in his brushes for Brushes--as in the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app.

And he's not just doodling around casually with the painting application. The 73-year-old British painter, stage designer, and photographer has used it, along with other drawing apps, to create hundreds of vibrant landscapes, self-portraits, still lifes, and florals.

Now, more than 200 of his images of plants and cut flowers are on display through January 30 at the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris.

For the exhibit, titled "Fleurs Fraiches," or "Fresh Flowers," iPads used by Hockney serve as wall-mounted digital canvases for displaying the work. Over the course of the event, Hockney will e-mail new images of flowers to refresh the older paintings.

We've seen amazing touch-screen art before, of course--from subtly shaded portraits made entirely on the iPad to stunning New Yorker covers created on the iPhone.

But this is David Hockney, an influential contributor to the pop-art movement of the '60s who has spent decades working with oils on canvas.

While he has experimented with digital art before, Hockney started working with the iPhone just two years ago and said he was struck by the immediacy of being able to create a painting and e-mail it friends within hours. He prefers to use his thumbs and fingers, rather than a stylus, to layer brush strokes of varying widths and thicknesses and says he believes tools like Brushes will revolutionize art.

"It's a real privilege to make these works of art through digital tools which mean you don't have the bother of water, paints, and the chore of clearing things away," he told the BBC.

"You know sometimes I get so carried away, I wipe my fingers at the end thinking that I've got paint on them."

 

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