Letter to ARC

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Letter to ARC

From Christina Helpa

Published before 2005


Just now I read your articles on Hockney's theory of realistic painting. His ridiculous theory reminded me of one I heard that Michelangelo mixed dirt with paint to make the colors of the Sistine Chapel artwork look darker. I can't even imagine that anyone with any knowledge of painting and drawing methods could possible buy into such a silly concept. Since his work is so lousy, I was reminded of a school-yard bully that has to push around the popular kids to make himself look good - because he can't do it any other way.

Hockney spoke of a sudden change in style during the 1400s as if it takes thousands of years for such a wild, unheard of phenomenon to occur. Styles come and go all the time. That's how the world is. As an artist myself, I find it far more convenient to just use a grid to enlarge any artwork than rigging out my place with a dozen optical devices. Who cares if artists and those who made mirrors shared a guild? I can't think of a thing that statement proves. I especially loved the fact that he couldn't name any specific artists who practiced such methods. Call me primitive, unlearned, or whatever else, but such methods never occurred to me! I certainly have no use for such methods, and I am a far cry from the Old Masters! Then he goes on saying that anyone who thinks less of an artist for using such devices has no knowledge, taste, etc., etc. A terribly weak point, if you ask me. What does that prove? His little tale of the artist bewailing the fact that he can't paint like the Old Masters is a complete joke. I guess it never occurred to Hockney that some people are just naturally talented artists and some are not. Some people can write wonderfully enlightening critiques on any artwork and make a good point, and some just can't. Some scientists can come up with and prove different theories and some are way out of their league. I could bet five years worth of my pay that the Old Masters are all rolling violently in their graves at their hard work being so blatantly insulted by someone who has no idea what he's talking about. I personally am very insulted that he has the audacity to say that people can't draw realistically on their own. Why? Because not everyone can do it! It seems obvious to me, (and anyone else who has any common sense whether they know absolutely nothing about art at all or otherwise) that to achieve such a feat it requires years of practice, study, patience, strength of will, and an open mind. Actually, I just thought of William Morris. Could he paint figures like the Old Masters? No. Did he give up, whine, or try to undermine anyone else's work? No. He made something of himself without even leaving the artworld. This is someone to be admired. Hockney could learn quite a lot from William Morris, and he would do well to do so. By the way, what was the purpose of this theory again?

Sincerely, CKH.