Artist Biography - David Hockney
David Hockney was born in Bradford, England, on July 9, 1937. He loved books and was interested in art from an early age, admiring Picasso, Matisse and Fragonard. His parents encouraged their son’s artistic exploration, and gave him the freedom to doodle and daydream.
The Hockneys were, a radical working-class family. Laura and Kenneth were loving parents who wanted the bes...t for their children. His parents encouraged their son’s artistic exploration, and gave him the freedom to doodle and daydream. David Hockney was always considered an eccentric character in Bradford, as he always stood out from the crowd.
Hockney attended the Bradford College of Art from 1953 to 1957. Then, because he was a conscientious objector to military service, he spent two years working in hospitals to fulfill his national service requirement.
In 1959, he entered graduate school at the Royal College of Art in London alongside other young artists such as Peter Blake and Allen Jones, and he experimented with different forms, including abstract expressionism. He did well as a student, and his paintings won prizes and were purchased for private collections.
David Hockney is one of the prominent contemporary painters who helped establish 'British Pop art'. Hockney’s early paintings incorporated his literary leanings, and he used fragments of poems and quotations from Walt Whitman in his work. This practice, and paintings such as We Two Boys Clinging Together, which he created in 1961, were the first nods to his homosexuality in his art.
Because he frequently went to the movies with his father as a child, Hockney once quipped that he was raised in both Bradford and Hollywood. He was drawn to the light and the heat of California, and first visited Los Angeles in 1963. He officially moved there in 1966. The swimming pools of L.A. were one of his favorite subjects, and he became known for large, iconic works such as A Bigger Splash. His expressionistic style evolved, and by the 1970s, he was considered more of a realist.
During the late 1980s, Hockney returned to painting. He mainly painted seascapes, flowers and portraits of loved ones, as well as starting to incorporate technology in his art. Fascinated with technology he started to create his first homemade prints on a photocopier in 1986.
A lot of Hockney’s subject matter was autobiographical, as he produced mainly portraits and self-portraits and quiet incidental scenes of his friends and his quarters. The casual elegance and tranquil luminosity of his artworks also predominated in his still lifes.
Hockney was open about his sexuality and has remained an advocate for gay rights throughout his career. In the context of a macho art scene that dismissed "pretty color" as effeminate, Hockney's colour palette challenged sterotypes in arts canon. The artists use of bright greens, purples, pinks, and yellows are subtile statements in support of sexual freedom for all.