I Also had a Go at Redesigning The Sun

While I was derping about on The Guardian earlier, I came across a story that got me thinking. British artist David Hockney was given the opportunity to redesign the masthead of the vile The Sun “newspaper” for a one-off edition. The only familiarity I have with Hockney’s work is from other pieces in The Guardian. The comment sections are mixed, there are those who blindly profess their love for his pieces and those who criticise the simplistic nature of his work. I tend to side with the latter body of thought.

The masthead is in the style of his iPad paintings, where a sun and light rays wobble across the background.  The nature of this medium brings about visible demarcations between finger/stylus strokes. I think the works have some level of charm due to the roughness of iPad painting, but roughness can be achieved by anyone on a tablet computer. I think the works are fairly inane and devoid of purposeful meaning.

Hockney takes pride in this work because he is a life-long fan of the paper. Which is a shame, The Sun has a shocking history of bigotry, misogyny, false reporting and political interference. Artists are stereotypically perceived as deep thinkers, which translates to great works with hidden meanings accessible only to those who study and take the time to analyse a piece. Given that Hockney apparently hasn’t been concerned by the misdeeds of The Sun, I can’t help but wonder if the lack of meaning in his work is driven by an absence of curiosity and critical thinking when he picks up the iPad.

The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones wrote an obsequious piece about how the redesign was a work of genius and presented “an optimistic vision of the world’s beauty”. I would agree if it weren’t for the bit that where there are the letters that spell out “The Sun”, which serves as a multiplier of hatred and ugliness.

So I thought I would have some fun and have a go at my own redesign of The Sun masthead. After all, I have plenty of Merit credits in NCEA Visual Arts. Lovingly crafted in Microsoft Paint. I think it does a good job of representing The Sun.


Figure 1. The Sun Masthead Redesigned – Zeitungfürkatzen 2016. Google image on MS Paint.

3 thoughts on “I Also had a Go at Redesigning The Sun

  1. Oh yes, Hillsborough certainly belongs to the top 3 scandals that this ‘news’paper was involved in!

    I’m not necessarily convinced that artists are generally perceived as deep thinkers. I’d rather distinguish between those artists that are more craftsmen and artists who do demonstrate actual creativity and originality with their work. I don’t think that people who admire all this kitsch from arts & crafts markets expect a lot of deep thought when they purchase a vase, an airbrushed city panorama or their name calligraphed in Chinese characters. That’s really just craftsmanship.

    David Hockney has obviously gained a reputation for ‘proper’ art, and I dare to suspect that this reputation might have biased Jonathan Jones’ critique. Who knows how a blinded review would have come out?

    • I’m probably going to tie myself up in knots trying to distinguish between “proper” art and craftspersonship. I do admire the aesthetics of his earlier work (not done on an iPad), but I think there must be more to art than just purely aesthetics.

      In another article, Jones makes the argument that one cannot ignore the context of artwork produced during the Russian Revolution and Civil War (https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2017/feb/01/revolutionary-russian-art-brutal-propaganda-royal-academy). I would argue that a similar argument could be made with Hockney’s masthead. Of course there is no comparison between The Sun and the horror experienced by the Russian people, but the underlying rationale could still be applied.

      • That’s an interesting point and surely, the context of a painting or also a novel, a film is one of the most important aspects when we try to interpret and understand artwork. I still recall studying all the facts & figures of enlightenment, Biedermeier, impressionism, Art Nouveau, … at school! For a good reason, of course. In a few decades’ time we might look back to David Hockney’s doodle and analyse it as one of the prototypical representatives for the era of post-fascism…

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