I love David Hockney’s art – the vibrancy of it, the colour, the lifelong experimentation with new ways of looking at things. I have a sneaking suspicion that I also feel attracted to it because I know Hockney has severe hearing loss, as indeed had his father.
Do you know his painting “My Parents”? We have a poster of it at home.
It shows Hockney’s mother – sitting looking straight at you, engaged and involved with the painter (you imagine). She also looks incredibly like my late Auntie Madge, but maybe that would be true of a lot of women of her generation. Next to her sits Hockney’s father – turned to the side, not looking at you, reading a book….attention elsewhere. It shouts deafness to me. When you are deaf it is so much easier to lose yourself in your own world than to communicate (which is why, to me, it’s so important to not give up and to keep on trying).
Hockney, as you would expect from a very blunt man, is very blunt about his own coping strategies. Interviewed recently he said “one way of getting round being deaf is to do all the talking, because if you’re talking you don’t have to listen”. I’m embarrassed to admit that I think he has a point. Sometimes, say in a group of chattering people, I’m aware that the only bit of the chattering I fully understand is the bit I’m doing. It’s a lot easier to talk than to listen. I try not to just keep on talking, but if you find me doing that give me a kick…….