Review of To See Clearly: A Portrait of David Hockney

To See Clearly: A Portrait of David Hockney To See Clearly: A Portrait of David Hockney
by Evan Turk; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    48 pp.
9/23    9781419752902    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781647002251    $15.54

Turk, illustrator of the Sibert Medal–winning The People’s Painter (rev. 7/21), adds another excellent biography of an artist to his oeuvre of picture books for older readers. His subject here, David Hockney (b. 1937), is one of the most distinguished British painters of the past century by virtue of his contributions to the pop art movement of the 1960s; he is also a noted photographer, printmaker, and set designer. After several formative childhood experiences with art, Hockney enrolls at the Royal College of Arts in London, but he truly finds his voice after graduating and moving to Hollywood, becoming famous for illustrations of swimming pools, gay life, and mid-century Los Angeles. Turk’s penchant for mixed media is on full display here: colored pencil, crayon, and gouache in bright colors. Illustrations tend toward full-bleed drawings, but occasional collages and single-page illustrations change up the visual pace. The book opens with a close-up of the glasses on young David’s face and ends with a similar one featuring older David—a detail that not only brings the book full circle but also reinforces a central theme: “The only way to slow time down was to stop and look more carefully…the more time you take to look, the more you see how beautiful life can be.”

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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