David Cockney admits that in the absence of a muse, any artist worth their salt will be obliged to work from photo-reference. Besides, Dave says that these days ‘it is increasingly unlikely for an artist to persuade some fit bird to get her kit off in the drafty places studios usually are – just for Art’s sake’. David Cockney also questions why it is necessary to draw and paint from the nude in the first place!

‘Nothing to be ashamed of’

He alludes to the erotic connotations of the process when a ‘traditional, male artist gains inspiration from doing so.’ (aka getting a stiffy). David Cockney could rarely afford to hire a model as he pursued his dream of becoming a great artist, working out of London’s East End. Cockney took odd classes at a local boxing gym in Bethnal Green and would occasionally be lucky enough to persuade his cousin to bare her all after Sunday School while the grown-ups were down the pub.

David Cockney by alan dedman
It’s bollocks!

Cockney also refers to ‘photo reference’ (porn) which has long been the mainstay of his sumptuous nudes and general scribbling after life. DC mentions how important it is to measure the nude accurately, using a pencil or paint-brush. He sometimes gives online demonstrations, working exclusively from …… magazine sources! David Cockney’s own Art bears the hall-marks of self-educated Classical training. Cockney passionately believes drawing and painting the nude is the only remedy for the ‘bollocks that Modern Art has become’  giving credence to his dear old Dad’s observation: ‘People who attend Art School are a bunch of effete, middle-class wankers – of no use to anyone’.

David Cockney and his photo reference
Photo reference

David used to (sometimes) hang out with Art critic Brian Sewell – who empathised with Cockney’s stance, hailing him as ‘the BritArt phenomenon gone nuclear, but by-passed!’ However, Cockney acknowledges renowned pastels artist Denise LaRue Mahlke when she says “Following a photo to a ‘T’ is a big mistake, because the camera lies,” ‘Aha!’ says Dave, ‘I always knew it‘.

Further Artistic observations and perambulatory comments by David Cockney can be found on this blog. Watch this space people!