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Waiting for Hockney

8 customer reviews

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(Feb 22, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Maryland artist Billy Pappas devoted eight years and five months of his life to a single drawing of Marilyn Monroe. Working on a microscopic level, he hoped to create an entirely new art form. When Billy finally completes his portrait, he believes only one person can determine whether he has succeeded: Renowned contemporary artist David Hockney. Waiting For Hockney narrates the offbeat and poignant story of Billy and the eccentric people who believe in him as they conspire in the service of one grand concept. Through Billy's experiences with his art and with Hockney himself, the film explores the fine line between dreams and delusions, and between perseverance and obsession. A lively tribute to art, to dreams, and to life, Julie Checkoway's Waiting For Hockney illuminates both the perils and payoffs of one man single-mindedly pursuing his dream to its ultimate conclusion.

Product Details

  • Directors: Julie Checkoway
  • Producers: Geralyn White Dreyfous, Neal Checkoway, Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0044M2OT0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,192 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Waiting for Hockney" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hui Shen ben Israel TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 25, 2011
Format: DVD
WAITING FOR HOCKNEY (2008) is a fascinating documentary, not about what constitutes art, but what constitutes whether the art world is going to perceive an artist or a dumb slob who likes to make pictures. That's what the art world does - and it will revolt you to see how they do it.

Billy Pappas, a very self-insulated and autistic young man with a fine talent for draftsmanship, worked just over 8 years on a microscopically realistic (we call it "hyperrealistic") portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Somehow he got the wacky notion that famous artist David Hockney was a kindred spirit and could validate the work - Billy knowing that he'd conquered an unconquered level of portraiture-with-a-pencil, Billy knowing that only Hockney could realize what he'd done and proclaim Billy's genius.

Things don't work out that way. While I found this documentary format tiresome (dopey, whiny college-station music and lingering shots of Billy's eyes), I found his drawing to be a technical marvel. We artists all know technical marvels get you nowhere. That is where Billy got. Even after he landed a meeting with Hockney at Hockney's California home. Poor guy.

While Hockney remained notoriously silent about the whole thing, his 'entourage' praised Billy to the skies. When interviewed, they changed their tune, actually mocking him and his drawing. It's the art world! Did the poor guy really think he was getting somewhere? When Hockney forgot all about him (probably about an hour after Billy left Hockney's residence), Billy turned to Bill Gates, hoping for God knows what.

Billy was rewarded with a terse email saying Bill Gates "doesn't do this sort of thing" and ordering Billy to stop pursuing Gates. So much for the patrons and the philanthropists!
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Format: DVD
By nature, I'm not too much of an art enthusiast. As they say, I know what I like--but in no way would I consider myself an expert on the contemporary art scene. That's what makes Julie Checkoway's fascinating documentary "Waiting For Hockney" such a pleasant surprise. The study of a dreamer's determination as he takes on a one of a kind art project is by turns hysterical and tragic. Starting from a biographical standpoint, the film turns into an incisive look at the nature of art, an examination of the artistic process, and a discussion on what validates artistry in today's society. And we see it all through the eyes of Billy Pappas, an illustrator who worked on one drawing for eight and a half years! The single minded devotion is both awe inspiring and borderline insane. But can Billy make his dreams come true--or might they more aptly be called delusions?

Billy sets his sights on doing something that has never before been done. He wants to compose a portrait that is more real and richer in detail than any previous hand drawn work--and his process is to approach it from the microscopic level. For over eight years, he toils continually on a reproduction of a photo of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. Indulged by his loving parents, he all but shuts himself off from the world convinced that his project will catapult him into the art scene stratosphere. But his work, when it's done, is so technically impressive that he needs to unveil it to someone who can understand how revolutionary it is. He convinces himself that he and renowned artist David Hockney are intellectually simpatico, and that Hockney should be the person to validate his life's work. With dogged determination, he pursues Hockney and finally scores a meeting! Will it be a melding of minds?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Renee Ashley on February 27, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film should be part of the curriculum for every undergraduate and graduate art program in the nation -- including writing programs. For high schools it's the perfect instrument to ignite discussion and writing. It's such an important film! Anyone who works in the arts or appreciates them--any of them--should see this documentary. It's magnificently made and crucial viewing.Waiting for Hockney
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Format: DVD
This movie is not about David Hockney -- he appears only in some still shots and snapshots made in his home during the filming. What the film is about is that you do no one a service and may end up looking like a dope by encouraging a person's unrealistic delusions. I doubt that's the message the filmmakers meant to deliver, but when you deal with reality, things may not turn out as you hope. The protagonist in this film is a young man who has produced a pencil sketch of a photo of Marilyn Monroe that he claims exhibits a degree of detail heretofore not achieved by an artist's hand. We are told he worked every day, full time, for 10 years on it. His technique involved using a needle-sharp drafting pencil to build the image a dot at a time. But since the sketch is only about 14 x 17 inches, we still may wonder what he was actually doing for all those hours. Apparently, at some point along the way, perhaps after the drawing was done, one of the artist's advisors planted the idea that the painter David Hockney was the very person to pass judgment on the sketch. It then became everyone's hope that Hockney would be so blown away as to become the young man's mentor and open doors to a great career in art. One might note that making ultra-realisitc sketches from photos seems about 180 degrees from what Hockney does, so he seems rather miscast in the role of benefactor, and this proves to be the case.

But perhaps the most intriguing feature is the number of grown-up people who abetted this young man all along the way. These include his parents and various others who should know better. One would think that surely someone with some knowledge of how you make a living in the art business would have happened along and pointed out that doing the world's most detailed sketch might be fun, but it is not the way to earn a steady income.
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