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Hockney in dig at Hirst art process

Painter David Hockney has criticised the likes of Damien Hirst, saying artists should create their own work.

Yorkshire-born Hockney, 74, whose major exhibition of landscapes opens at the Royal Academy this month, told the Radio Times that it was "insulting" for an artist to employ others to make their creations.

A poster for his show at the Royal Academy reads: "All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally."

Asked if he was having a dig at Hirst, famous for covering a human skull with 8,601 flawless diamonds and suspending a shark in formaldehyde, Hockney nodded and said: "It's a little insulting to craftsmen, skilful craftsmen."

He added: "I used to point out at art school, you can teach the craft, it's the poetry you can't teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft."

Hockney quoted a Chinese saying that to paint "you need the eye, the hand and the heart. Two won't do." "The other great thing they said - I told this to Lucian Freud - is, 'painting is an old man's art'. I like that!," Hockney said.

Hockney, who returned to his native Yorkshire after decades in California, has been working on his latest show for more than three years. "It took me three days to say, 'Yes, OK...' There was quite a lot of work, but I'm an opportunist... We rose to the occasion," he said.

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture spans a 50-year period to show the artist's long exploration and fascination with the depiction of landscape. The Royal Academy show will include a display of his iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using 18 cameras. A retrospective of Hirst's work opens at Tate Modern in April.

Hirst has defended using assistants to make his spot paintings, saying that they could do the work better as he found it boring to paint them himself.

Hockney was appointed a member of the prestigious Order of Merit by the Queen at the weekend.

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