I had the pleasure of meeting Hockney in 1970 when he was famous but not as much as he is now. I was at his flat visiting a woman I knew, Barbara Kassel who is also a great painter and her then boyfriend R.B. Kitaj. This was the summer before I went to College and I was impressed with this blonde englishman with huge black rimmed glasses. Once he knew I was interested in art he pulled out all sorts of photo montages he was working on at the time and starting to explain the theory behind the work. Of course I was only interested in Barbara, who was a glowing beauty and how I may steal a kiss from her without Kitaj noticing. A few years later I saw an exhibition of Hockney’s work that centerd on what he had shown me and it blew my mind. I realized I had spent an afternoon with a modern master and how fortunate it was. FYI, I never got that kiss and Barbara is still beautiful.
David Hockney, (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based inBridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London.
An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.
Hockney was born in Bradford, England on 9 July 1937 to Laura and Kenneth Hockney and was educated first at Wellington Primary School, thenBradford Grammar School, Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, where he met R. B. Kitaj. While he was there Hockney said he felt at home, he took pride and success in his work here. While a student at the Royal College of Art, Hockney was featured in the exhibitionYoung Contemporaries – alongside Peter Blake – that announced the arrival of British Pop art. He was associated with the movement, but his early works also display expressionist elements, not dissimilar to certain works by Francis Bacon. Sometimes, as in We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), named after a poem by Walt Whitman, these works make reference to his love for men. From 1963, Hockney was represented by the art dealer John Kasmin. In 1963 Hockney visited New York, making contact with Andy Warhol. A subsequent visit to California, where he lived for many years, inspired Hockney to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in Los Angeles, using the comparatively new acrylic medium and rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colours. In 1967, his painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick’s Pool, won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He made prints, portraits of friends, andstage designs for the Royal Court Theatre, Glyndebourne, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Hockney’s older sister, Margaret, who lives in Yorkshire, is an artist of still life photos.
Hockney was born with synesthesia; he sees synesthetic colours to musical stimuli. In general, this does not show up in his painting or photography artwork very much. However, it is a common underlying principle in his construction of stage sets for various ballets and operas, where he bases the background colours and lighting upon his own seen colours while listening to the music of the theatre piece he is working on.
A conscientious objector, Hockney worked as a medical orderly in hospitals as his National Service 1957–59.
He was made a Companion of Honour in 1997 and is also a Royal Academician.
Hockney was offered a knighthood in 1990 but he declined the offer before accepting an Order of Merit in January 2012. He was awarded TheRoyal Photographic Society’s Progress medal in 1988 and Centenary medal in 2003.
Hockney serves on the advisory board of the political magazine Standpoint, and contributed original sketches for its launch edition, in June 2008.
He is a staunch pro-tobacco campaigner and was invited to guest-edit the Today programme on 29 December 2009 to air his views on the subject.
In October 2010, he and a hundred other leading artists signed an open letter to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt protesting against cutbacks in the arts.