When I went to the Tate Britain back in February for my birthday before all this lockdown occurred, I had the fantastic opportunity to see one of David Hockney’s ‘Splash’ paintings, which I’ll leave below. Placed on a wall opposite Peter Blake’s self portrait, the pioneering pop artist best known for his links to The Beatles, the two paintings have to be some of my favourite pieces of art. With the lockdown now being extended in the UK, what does it mean for some of your favourite artists?
Luckily, it appears that the eerie and brilliant Banksy and the aforementioned Hockney have the answer. The header picture for this article is Banksy’s effort at working from home, changing a wall in his bathroom to be graffitied with mice slipping on toilet roll or pulling down a mirror. Even if it’s in the comfort of his own home, one of Britain’s best-kept secrets has still managed to create something marvellous. It’s interesting that an artist whose work is primarily based on turning up unannounced and painting a piece to be discovered has now turned to annoying his wife and creating some clever art at the same time.
As an artist, Banksy is known the world over for his satirical and solemn work, most notably the girl with the heart balloon, or, to give its proper title, Girl With Balloon. It’s that painting that saw its value exponentially increase following auction when it shredded itself. Keen to catch on to the idea, a lot of people then starting selling snipped snaps of the picture on eBay in a bid to capitalise on the publicity. It’s safe to say their works went entirely unnoticed and only got slated by anyone inside and outside of the art world. Some things just never catch on.
In the case of Hockney, he's got a pretty lush life, living in Normandy since March, painting the trees, shrubbery, and even his own house in his signature style. In the same vein as contemporaries such as Sir Peter Blake, Hockney's work is timeless and the paintings from his Normandy home portray this. There's this wonderful sharpness to the colour on offer that looks absolutely marvellous, and whilst I'm no art expert, it's still possible to appreciate how lovely such pictures are.
Art has always been a great form of escapism and it seems like it's needed even more so than usual in these turbulent times. Whilst the galleries may be shut, there's plenty of lovely paintings and drawings to appreciate online, a few of which have been shown here. Think of it as a mini-gallery of some of my favourite art. The likes of Banksy and Hockney prove that even when confined to your own home and with a bit of thought and practice, anything is possible.
Find something to keep yourself busy in this lockdown, be it painting, writing, or anything that you find fun. It'll be useful to take your mind off the news, and in the words of Morrissey, one of the great modern lyricists, "Stop watching the news/Because the news contrives to frighten you.". It's possible to watch/read the news in small bursts, which is what I'm doing - that's a form of escapism in its own right, and taking a look at some great art only extends it to another medium for all to enjoy.