Biography of David Hockney
Probably the most appreciated and versatile British artist of the past 50 years, David Hockney has mastered printmaking, photography, stage design, and of course painting over the course of his career. His works are characterized by an emphasis on light, a sparse style, and a down-to-earth realism that stems from his interest in photography and Pop Art. Born in Bradford in 1937, Hockney went on to study at the Royal College in London, achieving huge acclaim while still a student.
A great deal of David Hockney’s work is autobiographical; self-portraits and portraits of his friends recur throughout his career. Early on his art showed a subtle preoccupation with homosexual love and often incorporated poetry too. It was not until his move to Los Angeles in 1966, precipitating a period of intense experimentation, that Hockney’s career really took off. In 1967 he painted A Bigger Splash—the painting’s simplified forms and sense of aching emptiness were a landmark in David Hockney’s development as an artist. His arrival in California also coincided with a switch from oil painting to the brilliant flatness of color offered by acrylic paint. Such a change helped the artist achieve a strong sense of contemporaneity in his work.
In 1970 David Hockney created his first “joiner”—an assemblage of Polaroid photos laid out in a grid. It was a medium he stumbled across by accident when putting together photos for a painting but David Hockney soon made assemblage his own after recognizing it as an art form in its own right. Despite his dalliances with other mediums, David Hockney always returned to his first love of painting, usually depicting scenes from nature such as seascapes and trees as well as loved ones. Always pushing at the limits of technology Hockney began using the Brushes app on iPhones and iPads to create paintings and even went on to exhibit one hundred of these works at the Royal Museum of Ontario in 2011.
In a poll of more than 1.000 artists in 2011, David Hockney was voted the most influential British artist of all time. A prolific publisher of books, Hockney is an artist with a major international standing. He had a retrospective of his work at the Tate Liverpool in 1993-4 showcasing all his paintings and prints since 1960 and in 2012 the Royal Academy of Arts in London held a major exhibition of his work in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. David Hockney’s work can be found in most major institutions around the world and remains deeply revered and respected. David Hockney continues to paint and is an outspoken advocate for funding in the arts.