Art Perspective: iPad - David Hockney

When trying to think of a subject for this weeks art-based video game column I write, I found myself at an exhibition at the Royal Academy.

When trying to think of a subject for this weeks art-based video game column I write, I found myself at an exhibition at the Royal Academy. The exhibition in question was €˜A Bigger Picture€™, a David Hockney show displaying a large selection of his works. Most pieces were the artists water colours and oil paintings, but about 50, where produced using a that symbol of modern technology; the iPad.

If you know anything at all about art, you€™ll probably know of this David Hockney chap, he€™s been around for a while and still creates work well into his senior citizenship. Hockney likes to experiment with different medium, it was through his photomontages and other photographic works that I came across him first, but he has also worked with stage design, painting and printmaking. For this willingness to experiment it is not too much of a step for Hockney to become an advocate for newer mediums, like the touch screen interface of the iPad. The works in the exhibition have been printing out, but were originally produced use the drawing and painting application known as Brushes by Steve Sprang, available for iPhone and iPad.
Initially seen as a gaming gimmick by many, a hand full of developers have really taken on the format and given it some intriguing titles. The iPad has fought it€™s way into the realm of the serious games machine with some great titles; Fifa 12, Infinity Blade, GTA 3, NBA Jam, Plants vs. Zombies and World of Goo to name but a few. And now has been fully embraced by one of Britain's best known artist. The application that Hockney uses is often thought of as for children, but really there is nothing to warrant such an assumption. All the app does is give the user tools to create anything they want, all the app needed was for someone to take is seriously as a medium.
As a side note; trust me I am certainly no advocate or fanboy of the iPad, it€™s definitely a luxury product and if you own any other gaming device, there is no need to buy one for gaming alone. The point is that a serious artist has used an iPad to create and display works at one of the most presages galleries spaces in the world. This is art and gaming combining and receiving a warm welcome into the establishment. This begs the question as to why game art hasn€™t been taken seriously yet. As gamers we all know that some games are worthy of true artistic praise, and although this somethings come from inside the games industry, there has been little fuss made about any game in the serious art world.
Although Hockney has not created a game and I doubt he knows much about programming, with his iPad art he's taken a big step in the right direction for art in new media. We might still be a lot way off seeing level designs from Bioshock appear in the Turner prize but we might be getting there one step at a time. It could be argued that the Brushes application isn€™t really a game, and we would have to take that as a valid point. There isn€™t really an aim, it€™s more that the programme gives you the tools to create something new, but isn't this the same with any medium, from film making to game level and story design?
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