Artist Diaries

Hockney Interview Image

First person insights on the hearts and minds of famous artists of the past are rare.

Thanks to his prolific letter writing (almost daily) to his brother, Theo, we know more about Vincent Van Gogh than any other artist throughout history. We know about his struggles with poverty and sanity. We’re privy to his hopes and dreams. We learn of his relationships with other artists and neighbors, but most importantly we have a front row seat of his creative process, on a granular level: his goals, failures, successes, and his approach to painting on a technical level. Marvelous…if you haven’t read his letters, do so…what a treat to share the journey with this troubled creative genius.

Yellow House PaintingBe warned, I initially walked away not liking Vincent as a person very much: the constant whining and complaining, his continuous begging for more funds from his younger brother, but I’ve since learned of the details of his arrangement with Theo. The paintings Vincent created belonged to Theo…Vincent shipped them off to his brother, in bundles, once they were dry enough to travel and they were to remain Theo’s, until Vincent could return the funds he’d borrowed to support his creative efforts, in full.

Young Hockney ImageOver the weekend, I viewed artist interviews on YouTube, here and there, whenever I took breaks to cool down and rehydrate during my brush clearing efforts (it’s that time of year again, up here in the Sierras). I ended up viewing a lot of David Hockney interviews and discovered how many with this artist were up there.

Hockney Middle Aged PhotoMr. Hockney is a favorite of mine, he was recognized and successful at an early age. He’s thoughtful, loquacious and, at age 81, has accumulated quite a catalog of video interviews. The sessions run the gamut of his career, he was interviewed at the beginning, in his 20’s and 30’s, across the decades, right up to the present.

Hockney Today PhotoI was struck by the similarity of this collection and Van Gogh’s letters. The videos document David Hockney’s thoughts, opinions, working methods, etc., across his career, who he was at the beginning, his evolution over the years and who he is now.

What a gift to artists! Hockney isn’t alone. Through catalogs like YouTube, you can gain incite into the workings of all the major artists of our times.

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