16 May, 2009

David Hockney condemns Ofsted report on art

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

Hockney finds it ‘frightening’ that inspectors are so ignorant about what turns boys, in particular, off art

David Hockney has condemned school inspectors for saying boys are turned off art by lessons that are too focused on drawing and painting.

The artist said the findings of last month’s Ofsted report on art in primary and secondary schools were “frightening” and highlighted inspectors’ ignorance.

In the report, inspectors suggested that boys were more motivated by using digital cameras and computer graphics packages than more conventional art classes.

But Hockney said children had a basic need to draw and what turned them off was “boring teachers”.

Children need to learn the basics before being taught how to produce art using computers, he told the Guardian.

“I was appalled when I read that school inspectors say boys are turned off art when it’s too heavily focused on drawing and painting,” he said.

“It’s a bit like saying schools shouldn’t be bothering with grammar.

“The only reason people aren’t stimulated is because they have got bad, boring teachers.”

Hockney added: “I find it frightening that some school inspectors are so ignorant of what computing is and what drawing and painting is.

“It’s grotesquely incompetent and therefore swindling the children.”

Hockney said that most children like to draw because “it’s a deep thing within us”.

“It’s ancient – look at cave painting,” he said.

“When I was at the Royal College of Art they were abandoning drawing and were just linking it to photography, but digital photography is now leaning back towards drawing and painting.”

Hockney has just opened an exhibition of pictures he has drawn and painted entirely using a computer.

“But you wouldn’t know that just by looking at them,” he said.

“People think of computer art as having a certain look – it doesn’t.

“The phrase ‘digital art’ I always thought was rather debatable. It’s like saying ‘pencil art’.

Hockney has embraced the opportunities offered by new technology to create art and has taken up drawing on computers since since getting an iPhone.

“I can draw on it as well,” he said. “It’s wonderful.”

“There are advantages and disadvantages to anything new in mediums for artists, but the speed allowed here with colour is something new. Swapping brushes in the hand with oil or watercolour takes time.”

David Hockney, Drawing in a Printing Machine is showing at Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, London, until 11 July

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