A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney


Sparky, illuminating and entertaining – a decade’s worth of conversations between David Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford that explore via anecdote, reflection, passion and humour the very nature of creativity. 

David Hockney is the world’s most popular living painter, but he's also an incisive and original thinker on art. Here are the fruits of his lifelong meditations on the problems and paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface. 

  • How does drawing make one ‘see things clearer, and clearer, and clearer still’, as Hockney suggests? 
  • What significance do different media – from a Lascaux cave wall to an iPad – have for the way we see? 
  • What is the relationship between the images we make and the reality around us? 
  • How have changes in technology affected the way artists depict the world? 

The conversations are punctuated by wise and witty observations from both parties on numerous other artists – Van Gogh or Vermeer, Caravaggio, Monet, Picasso – and enlivened by shrewd insights into the contrasting social and physical landscapes of California, where Hockney spends so much of his time, and Yorkshire, the birthplace to which he recently returned for a long spell. Some of the people he has encountered along the way – from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Billy Wilder – make entertaining appearances in the dialogue.

‘There is much to be enjoyed in – and much to be discovered from this book … you will find out much else behind Hockney’s extraordinarily voracious appetite for reinvention and self-scrutiny’– Art Quarterly

'… a rewarding book that turns out to be far more than simply the story of how and why Hockney made his most recent pictures. It offers a series of snappy essays on the complicated act of looking. The exchanges with Hockney are enlightening and provocative, and Gayford has framed this dialogue with skilful narrative and art historical context' – Times Literary Supplement

  • Approx dimensions: 22.90 x 15.20 cm
  • Hardback
  • 248pp
  • 161 Illustrations, 154 in colour
  • First published 2011