The art in David Hockney's Fresh Flowers exhibit is rendered in exquisite detail on iPhones and iPads which adorn the ROM's walls. As you lean in to examine the "brushwork" on this new medium, the image is replaced with another piece of art. We were astounded and thrilled to watch Hockney's recognizable style emerge during playback animation projected onto the gallery walls. The colourful drawings were all created using the Brushes app.
At a C5 party to celebrate the exhibit, with the artist by his side, we seized the opportunity to ask Charlie Scheips more about the show. We have Scheips, the artist's longtime friend, to thank for securing the only North American date of Hockney's Fresh Flowers exhibition.
Zoe: Why did it take almost 25 years to bring a major original Hockney show back to Canada?
Charlie Scheips: The ROM called me and it was luck. There was a gap in the Paris show schedule.
ZS: Although the iPad has a wide selection of brush strokes, do you think there is something lost without paint? Maybe texture or precision of hue?
CS: Well, there are pros and cons. He still paints in various mediums but accessibility to new technology has replaced carrying a sketch bag. It's spontaneous. And there's no clean up!
ZS: How has David Hockney's artistic style translated to the medium?
CS: It comes out Hockney no matter what.
ZS: This is the ROM's first WiFi accessible exhibition. What was the reasoning behind choosing this as the primary launching pad?
CS: It's meant that David can email new images directly to the ROM. Coming back for a second visit, you'll find new paintings. That's what he did in Paris and Copenhagen.
ZS: Do you think that Hockney's show is launching a visual art and technology trend? The way it shapes how we receive, interpret and share art and ideas?
CS: It's created a democratization of artistic material. Any artist can use it, there are many levels of accessibility. Right, we're off to the opera!
ZS: Thank you! Enjoy Rigoletto!