David Hosking, an old friend and artist based in Porthleven, died recently. I was deeply saddened and worried for his wife, they were a devoted couple.
His pictures were bright, cheerful, stylised scenes, many of them seascapes. Vaguely cubist, a little Paul Klee, but essentially true to his own self, they were not to everyone’s taste and occasionally evoked the response, ‘my eight year old could do that’, but we all know the answer to that one, don’t we?
I began to think about the New Art Examiner’s writers’ meeting we had just had, and the discussion about the purpose of art.
David’s pictures held no messages, hidden or otherwise. His pictures made no social comment, nor do they relate to world events, and to me, there’s nothing wrong with that. Art, in any form, may sometimes have a deeper purpose than simple display, one can bring to mind Picasso’s Guernica, Solzhenitskyn’s Gulag Archipelago, perhaps even Tracy Emin’s unmade bed, certainly Ai Weiwei’s installations, but occasionally it’s just good to enjoy, to look no further than what’s hanging on the wall. There has to be a place for the artists who, while driven to create, simply enjoy the execution of the talents they have.
David painted a picture just for me once. It’s called Bouncing Boats. Three boats, coming in at an angle, the farthest small, on the horizon, the other two in perspective coming closer, the sky going from red to orange to golden, the ocean horizontal stripes from aquamarine to cerulean blue to navy. I cannot look at it without smiling, isn’t that a successful picture?
David was a man full of humour and it comes across in so many of his pictures. He was never the starving artist, nor the tortured soul, he taught art until in his forties when he decided he should bite the bullet and follow his dream, and so he did.
Picasso said, “The chief enemy of creating is good sense.”
Neitzche said, “Art is the proper task of life.”
Chekhov said, “The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”
Take your pick.