David Hockney gives Damien Hirst an art attack

Seventy-four-year-old painter slates artists who rely on aides to produce their work

Celebrated artist David Hockney has hit out at the working methods of Damien Hirst, calling the latter’s art “an insult to craftsmen.”


In an interview published in this week’s Radio Times, the 74-year-old painter expressed his disdain for artists who do not personally produce their own work.

He admitted that a sign displayed at his new Royal Academy show that reads “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally” is a dig at Hirst, who relies on assistants to craft his artworks.

“I used to point out at art school, you can teach the craft, it’s the poetry you can’t teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft,” said Hockney.

He quoted a Chinese saying that to paint “you need the eye, the hand and the heart. Two won’t do.”

Hirst has admitted that his use of assistants to produce such works as his series of spot paintings stemmed from the fact that he “couldn’t be…a***d doing it.”

Many of Hirst’s assistant-made works of art will be on show at a Tate Modern exhibition this April.

David Hockney, RA: A Bigger Picture, which opens on Saturday 21 January, explores the artist’s fascination with landscape and includes a display of his iPad drawings.

Hockney was appointed a member of the Order of Merit by the Queen on Sunday.


Read the full interview, and get four free exclusive David Hockney postcards, in the new issue of Radio Times, on sale now.