Occupation: Painter, Printmaker, Draftsman, Stage Designer, Photographer
Movement: Pop Art,
Education: Bradford School of Art, Bradford; Royal College of Art, London
David Hockney is a multi-talented artist whose career spans painting, printmaking, drafting, photography, and stage and costume design.
Early Life and Education
Hockney was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in July, 1937, to Kenneth and Laura Hockney. He studied art techniques as a student at the Bradford School of Art between 1953 and 1957. In his final year at the school, his painting, “Portrait of my Father,” was exhibited and sold at the Leeds Art Gallery. For two years, he was a hospital orderly as part of his National Service duty.
He studied at the Royal College of Art in 1959, being taught by Roger de Grey, Ruskin Spear, Ceri Richerds, and Carel Weight.
From 1960 to 1961, Hockney painted a great deal and his work was displayed at the Young Contemporaries exhibition at the Royal Society of British Artists Gallery (the RBA Galleries). He also won the Juniors Section Prize at the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition. Around this time, he met the art dealer John Kasmin and, in New York, the curator of prints at the Museum of Modern Art William, S. Lieberman. This set the tone for the rest of the decade. He met more people, expanded his interests, and produced newer and increasingly innovative work. His first solo exhibition held in 1963 at John Kasmin’s gallery was sold out.
On subsequent trips to the USA, Hockney met the iconic artist Andy Warhol, writer Christopher Isherwood, and master printer Ken Tyler, among many other people. In 1963, he decided to move to California. It was here that he began working on his famous series of paintings of swimming pools. He taught for a while at the University of Colorado Boulder and the UCLA. He used experiences from his life to paint and friends, lovers, and relatives — all of whom became his subjects. In 1966, he met Peter Schlesinger, who went on to become his lover and most-preferred model. During this time, he also traveled to Italy, France, Lebanon, and Egypt.
“David Hockney: Paintings, Prints and Drawings 1960–1970,” was the first retrospective of the artist’s work. This opened in 1970 at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery. It was in the same year that he made his first “joiner,” a technique of making photo collages, which he would continue to use later. In 1974, “A Bigger Splash,” a film on him made by Jack Hazan was released. The following year, he designed Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress” for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, followed a few years later by “The Magic Flute.”
After this, Hockney designed theater stage sets and costumes. His autobiography, “David Hockney by David Hockney,” was published in 1976. By the mid-1970s, his focus had moved to photography, printmaking, and set design, leaving paintingaside.
It was only around 1984 that Hockney returned to painting, once again turning for inspiration to the people around him. As always, he maintained an interest in technology and began using photocopiers to make his prints at home. By the 1990s, his trips to Yorkshire became more frequent. Encouraged by his friend Jonathan Silver, he began to paint the local surroundings ‘en plein air.’
In 2007, Hockney painted his largest canvas, “Bigger Trees Near Warter” which was inspired by Yorkshire, and hung initially at the Royal Academy. The artist later donated the painting to Tate Britain in 2008.
Hockney’s interest in using technology to make art is evident from the portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes he has made using the application brushes on the iPhone and iPad. Apart from other exhibitions, his prints were exhibited at an exhibition in Dulwich Picture Gallery, Durham, from February to May 2014.
Tate Gallery, London,
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
De Young Museum, San Francisco
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
“72 Drawings,” by David Hockney
“David Hockney: Faces 1966–1984,”by David Hockney
“David Hockney's Dog Days,”by David Hockney