Inspiration... There's an App for That

07/13/2010 12:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My iPhone 4 has become as invaluable to me as lined Moleskine journals and fine point black pens. When gallery hopping throughout Los Angeles, I often take my own photos of the art works to more effectively illuminate my notes, which rarely adhere to any linear narrative. I have always seen the iPhone as a vehicle that drives connectivity, insists on synchronicity with other Apple products, and most importantly, stores hundreds of pictures of art works past. While I don't venture too often into the "App Store" because I would rather spend my money on books, recent news that David Hockney uses his iPhone and an application called Brushes to sketch new works forced me to reconsider my position on the matter of paid applications.

Perfectly suited for the iPhone (and now of course the iPad), Brushes gives users the options of colors, brush type, and even if they wish to paint on a blank screen or over an existing photograph. A hyper zoom feature insures that even the smallest areas of the screen will not go unnoticed or untouched by the artist's hand. After reading the article (found below) on Hockney's exploration of a new painterly medium, I decided to purchase the application myself and give it a try. After all, David Hockney and I are now on the same playing field, using the same device, and the same application. Trying to "paint' with your index finger is as awkward as trying to write your name with your non-dominant hand. I suppose it takes a certain something to make those pixels resonate as something other than computer rendered objects.

David Hockney isn't the only one to jump on the Apple bandwagon. "In Still Life, 2001-2010" was launched by For Your Art and coincided with the opening of John Baldessari's exhibit "Pure Beauty" at LACMA. The free application (and if not for that very important detail I may not have downloaded in the first place) allows users to manipulated 38 objects from a 17th Century Dutch still life. A table in the foreground draped with cascading linens quickly becomes the site of ornate tableware and decadent food. I find that the success in the application has little to do with the literal task of arranging a still life, but bridges a gap between the mysteries that inspire an artist and the rest of us. All that separates me from David Hockney and John Baldessari are my original compositions that I created using the same template and materials.