Amid the newspapers’ recent gloom of approaching economic recession, political skullduggery and our planet’s resources being rapidly depleted, I read of David Hockney’s gift of his massive ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’ to the Tate Gallery, and my heart lifted.
(The photo is from the BBC’s site, where they have a detailed report of Hockney’s gift)
It’s an enormous painting (forty feet by fifteen feet) and an enormous gift to the nation, which I look forward (enormously…) to being able to see one day.
The painting’s made up of fifty panels, painted on site, and assembled.
What a thing this will be to inspect. But what could it teach me now?
I’ve recently concluded a project where I needed to give the client a complete ‘picture’ of their current situation and where they might get to.
What I delivered to them was all in words. But as I interviewed people, examined the meaning of what they said, researched what the client’s competitors, partners and customers thought, and delivered my report, I had in mind David Hockney’s painting. I tried to faithfully represent each factor that had been considered, just as every panel had been painted, and tried to present a coherent overall picture of what was going on, just as Hockney assembled his painting.
I very much doubt that my client looked at my report and thought “You know, he must have been inspired by Hockney when he wrote this”. But that’s not the point.
Carrying through into my work, which often results in words on a page, the inspiration I get from things which are seen, felt, heard or tasted makes just as much sense to me as trying to use other people’s words on a page or screen. It keeps things fresh.
Be a receptor. Figure out how to use influences from media outside the one you work in.
Oh, and go to see ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’ when it’s installed in the Tate. Please.