Born on July 9, 1937 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, David Hockney is a painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. He is considered by many to be one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.
From 1953-57, Hockney studied at the Bradford School of Art and then at the Royal Collage of Art from 1959-62. He received the Royal College of Art gold medal in 1962 for his paintings and draughtsmanship.
Hockney’s early work was diverse. He became associated with the British Pop Art movement (though he rejected this label), but his work also displayed expressionist elements. In the late 1960’s his work was “weightier” with a more “traditionally representational manner”. He spent much of his time in the United States, and California swimming pools and homoerotic scenes became well-known themes in his work.
In the 1970’s Hockney worked as a stage designer creating set and costume designs for productions including Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Mozart’s The Magic Flute which were produced at Glyndebourne Opera House. Hockney was the subject of the 1974 Jack Hazan’s film called “A Bigger Splash” (named after one of Hockney’s swimming pool paintings from 1967).
In the early 1980’s Hockney produced photo collages which he called “joiners” with subject matter from portraits to still life, and from representational to abstract styles. “Using varying numbers of small Polaroid snaps or photolab-prints of a single subject, Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. Because these photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, which was one of Hockney’s major aims—discussing the way human vision works.”
In the mid to late 80’s, Hockney made use of computers, colour photocopiers and fax machines to create artwork. In 1985, he was commissioned to draw with the Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that allowed the artist to sketch directly onto the monitor. In 1989, he sent work for the Sao Paulo Biennale to Brazil via fax. Hockney experimented with computers, composing images and colours on the monitor and printing them directly from the computer without proofing.
From the 1990’s onward, Hockney has continued to work on a variety of paintings, photographic and digital work, as well as opera productions. His works have been exhibited across the globe and are in the collections of most major museums. As well, many of his works are now located in a converted industrial building called Salts Mill, in Saltaire, near his home town of Bradford.
Hockney currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California and London, England. “Since 2009, Hockney has painted hundreds of portraits, still lifes, and landscapes using the Brushes iPhone and iPad application, sending them to his friends.”
In 2012, Hockney transferred paintings valued at $124.2 million to the David Hockney Foundation, and gave an additional $1.2 million in cash to help fund the foundation’s operations. The artist plans to give away the paintings, through the foundation, to galleries including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Tate in London.
For more information about David Hockney, visit DavidHockneyPictures.com.