A work of art and endurance

This is pretty much my all-time favourite piece of art:

Pearblosson Hwy., 11th – 18th April 1986 (Credit)

First glimpsed at the Salts Mill’s permanent Hockney exhibition when I was 16, it immediately captured my imagination. Hockney’s better known for his colourful painting, but during the mid-1980’s he went through a photography phase that resulted in several collages like this one. The following summer I returned and was still captivated – the next year I was given a large framed version of it in honour of my 18th birthday and a year later I saw it in the flesh at the J. Paul Getty museum in LA. We’ve got quite a history…
For five years the picture hung on the wall above my bed in my bedroom in Gloucester. When my parents moved on to Belfast, I wasn’t living anywhere that could house it (actually, I wasn’t living anywhere at all…) and so it went with them to hang on the wall of the room in which I sleep when I’m visiting. Until the move to Bloomsbury, I’d never had a place where it would fit, but with the new flat came an ocean of wall space on which to hang art – something my mother sensed, resulting in an offer to bring it with them the next time they crossed the Irish Sea.
Thus, the picture found itself in Tewksbury a couple of weeks ago, in the home of my sister who was rather surprised to see it. Not wanting it to clutter up her hallway, she came up with a plan to get it to London when she visited for the Olympics – it fitted in her car and therefore she felt able to get it onto her train from Cheltenham. All I had to do was meet her at Paddington and transport it across town. She even came up with a suitable (if long) hashtag: #crosslondonarttransportationmission
It would be simple – the number 7 bus goes from Paddington to Bloomsbury and I’d carry the picture while we walked between stops. Well, it would’ve been simple had it not been for the following combination of factors: Friday afternoon; Oxford Street; and the Olympics. 
Our bus terminated on Edgware Road and we were left carrying a large, heavy, unwieldy picture for nearly an hour. I did most of it (until one of my hands went numb), keeping Mim on my right to act as guide and extra eyes for pedestrians. (I only hit a couple of them and mostly it was their fault. Kinda.) It was hot, we were tired, but we stayed in good humour – thankfully. 
After what seemed like forever, we finally reached the flat – ensuring we posed for photos before we finished. I couldn’t face carrying it up the 60 steps to the flat, so left it a while, recuperating with a Diet Coke. But as soon as it was removed from its many layers of bubble wrap, it went up on the wall and it has to be said, looks pretty good. (Well, it will once I figure out how to make it look straight in a flat with no straight floors or walls…)

Views on the world

I don’t pretend to know a lot about art, but there have always been works that have captured me. This morning, reading the Metro, I was transported into a Yorkshire wood – a far cry from the rush hour chaos of the Jubilee line – just by looking at one of David Hockney’s new paintings.

There are five paintings of the same woods at different times of the year. The one in the Metro must have been spring or summer (I couldn’t find it online) and it was just so fresh & green that it had a real calming, hypnotic quality to it.

I love Hockney’s work. Not all of it (his abstract phase was a little weird) but some of his iconic work (like the Big Splash that’s in Tate Britain) is amazing. What I love best of all is his photo collage experiments which he did in the 80’s.

In Saltaire, near Bradford, there’s a permanent Hockney exhibition (it’s where he was born) and it was a regular fixture of our usually wet holidays in Yorkshire. The first time I went (aged 15/16) I fell in love with one of the collages that was in a poster, called Pearblossom Highway. When I was 18 my parents gave me a massive print which hung over my bed. Made up of hundreds of photos taken over a week, I would lie in bed spotting new things that I hadn’t noticed before. When I was 19 I got to see the orginal in LA, and it was even better. Now my print is in Belfast and I’m left with a postcard (which like the picture below, doesn’t do it justice) above my desk, but it’s still an amazing piece of work.