When he’s not off scribbling digital sunrises on his iPad, David Hockney also creates posters for the London Underground.
As part of a new tourism campaign, Hockney’s latest work sits in the Piccadilly Circus Tube, and it features a yellow ring with a purple banner stretched across it that reads, you guessed it, Piccadilly Circus. However, the final “s” in "circus" gets lopped off and moved down to the next line, as if the artist ran out of space and needed to place it below. As the father of two young kids with limitless imaginations but a lack of spatial awareness, it’s an adorable detail that brings some much-needed levity and wit to your commute.
He’s also taken a little heat for the seemingly slapdash design, with many echoing that constant refrain of, “Hey, my kid could do that,” along with countless others taking their best memeable imitation of Hockney’s tube sign. That took place after London’s mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted about the project, drawing the ire of many folks.
To which I would say, dude, relax (but also, keep the memes coming).
Plenty of artists have been doing that thing they do for years, like Man Ray, Edward McKnight Kauffer, and Alfred Leete. It’s a fun piece of public art—it certainly won’t change the world, but it also isn’t a mirrored formless blob or thousands of yards of drapes either(and even those are OK, too). It’s an amuse-bouche before you hop on a packed train full of masked (or maybe unmasked now) folks just trying to make it through their day. And frankly, you know, it’s funny. Enjoy the childlike scrawls and go about your business already, you miserable bastards.
While some lamented what their tax dollars are going to exactly, one of Mayor Khan’s reps indicated that Hockney had not been paid for the design, and seriously, why would he even need it in the first place?
Anyhow, I'm sure you'll all agree. Designers are almost always reasonable, open-minded, and supportive.