Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"joiners" - Creative Polaroid Collages by David Hockney


David Hockney is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. He is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire, and Kensington, London. Hockney also maintains two residences in Los Angeles, the city where he has lived on and off for more than 30 years: one in Nicholas Canyon, and an office and archives on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.




In the early 1980s, Hockney began to produce photocollages, which he called "joiners," first of Polaroid prints and later of 35mm, commercially processed color prints. Using varying numbers of Polaroid snaps or photolab-prints of a single subject Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. One of his first photomontages was of his mother. Because these photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, which was one of Hockney's major aims – discussing the way human vision works. Some of these pieces are landscapes such as Pearblossom Highway #2, others being portraits, e.g. Kasmin 1982, and My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982.





On his arrival in California, Hockney changed from oil to acrylic paints, applying them as a smooth surface of flat and brilliant colour. The print workshop Gemini G.E.L. approached him in 1965 with the idea of creating a series of lithographs with a Los Angeles theme. Hockney's response was to create a ready-made art collection. He created his photomontage works mostly between 1970 and 1986. He referred to them as "joiners". He began this style of art by taking Polaroid photographs of one subject and arranging them into a grid layout. The subject would actually move while being photographed so that the piece would show the movements of the subject seen from the photographer's perspective. In later works Hockney changed his technique and moved the camera around the subject instead.



The earlier works of this 5 year period are experimental, Hockney is exploring the medium, and perfecting his technical ability. As the complexity of the joiners increased, he moved to using a Pentax 110, this allowed him to hugely increase the complexity of the pieces. His longest Polaroid joiner took 5 hours to complete, his longest Pentax joiner took 8 days of photography alone.












Hockney's creation of the "joiners" occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses to take pictures. He did not like such photographs because they always came out somewhat distorted. He was working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles. He took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. Upon looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer was moving through the room. He began to work more and more with photography after this discovery and even stopped painting for a period of time to exclusively pursue this new style of photography. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its 'one eyed' approach, he later returned to painting.

(via David Hockney: Photos / Polaroids, Wikipedia and 5election)

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