Sometimes we deviate away from the world of watercolour and this article is one of those deviations. It’s timely however as David Hockney has recently exhibited at the Royal Academy and is a British artist who has been massively influential in the field of Pop Art in particular.
Hockney was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1937 and, after attending the Bradford College of Art, enrolled at the Royal College of Art in London in 1959. It was here that he was taught by the notable American Pop Artist Ronald Brooks Kitaj who almost certainly influenced him along that path. From this point on it was clear Hockney was an artist with no little talent, especially in the field of Pop Art, but his first pieces of work such as We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961) owed more to expressionism than to any other school.
David Hockney’s Pop Art career was kickstarted after he visited the United States in 1963, hooking up with Andy Warhol and presumably the other creative types who associated with Warhol during that period. Not long after this visit he relocated to California where he began to create the series of paintings featuring swimming pools which could be argued define Hockney’s Pop Art work during this period. The lively colours and realistic tone of the paintings marked Hockney out as an innovative Pop Art talent.
David Hockney’s career has been one of innovation, new mediums and a desire to understand new technologies and how they integrate with art. He became a talented photographer during the late 1960s and even gave up canvas for photography for a period before returning to painting. He has designed magazine covers and stage sets for ballets and operas.
Still working today, Hockney is still innovating, notably using iPhone and iPad applications to create portraits. In 1998 he created what is arguably one of his most memorable works of art, 60 separate paintings which fit together to form one giant painting entitled A Bigger Grand Canyon (1998).
David Hockney has been described as one of the 20th century’s most influential British artists and it’s not hard to understand why.