Biography and Impact of David Hockney

4084 words (16 pages) Essay

18th May 2020 Arts Reference this

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a university student. This is not an example of the work produced by our Essay Writing Service. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Pop Art is an art movement that came about in the United States and the United Kingdom around the same time, the mid to late 1950s. Pop Art drew inspiration and showcased imagery well known to mass culture for its popularity and recognition. Art of this movement displayed vibrant, bright colors and icons from media. The Pop Art movement was a time for sexy, loud, gimmicky art to reign without hesitation and be full of personality. Two major leaders of this time were Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Warhol and Lichtenstein created artwork that took everyday images and objects and turned them into visual pieces that had a whole new level of attitude and impact. Yet, there was another big name in the Pop Art scene just across the ocean, British artist David Hockney.[1]Hockney’s art was full of life, color, and technique that generations of artists to come would use and admire. His work differed from other Pop artists as his work was not only confined to this style. Hockney’s work was representative of the Pop Art movement but was also highly realistic and did not consist of popular icons or items from the time.[2] Hockney’s work differed from American Pop Artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein because he combined both stylized and realistic techniques in his works. Warhol and Lichtenstein both sought to create work to connect traditions of fine art to mass culture. Lichtenstein’s style was reminiscent of cartoons and comic books while Warhol’s reflected commercialized components centered around celebrities and household brand names. In contrast, Hockney’s work tried to capture the exact moment of events and experimented as much as one could. Considered one of the most influential British artists in the 20th century especially during the Pop Art Movement, David Hockney led the way for experimenting with different mediums and techniques such as diving into printmaking and using acrylic paint throughout his career.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Find out more

Hockney’s work displayed his ability to experiment with mediums and the use of techniques that other artists of the time had yet to explore. His work often showed his interest in the Cubist movement. It can be seen that Hockney used techniques inspired by Cubism to help combine and morph into his own style. Combining multiple views of a scene in order to create a composite view of a subject were some of the ways he accomplished this.[3]

Hockney, while appreciative of artists and techniques from other movements, became a self-inspired leader in the Pop Art movement and art overall by introducing the relationship between art and technology. Finding new innovative ways to create was how Hockney remained driven throughout his career. This is one of the main reasons why he is considered one of the most influential British artists.[4] As a stage designer, printmaker, draftsman, and photographer, there was little that Hockney could not do.[5]While this talented artist remains alive today, he has not given up creating art. The Yorkshire-born painter does indeed still paint every day for about six to seven hours, according to CNN.[6]

Hockney was also recently named an “icon” by Time Magazine on its list of most influential people in 2019. This title is well deserved for one known as such a persistent and curious man. Hockney was one of the first artists to use acrylic paint before it became easily accessible and popular amongst other painters. One primary example of his experimental work with acrylic is one of his most famous works known as A Bigger Splash. This piece was created in 1967, and it took Hockney weeks to perfect.[7]Capturing the single moment of the splash from the water just right took enormous amounts of patience. While he was not the only artist at the time trying to represent the movement of water, Hockney was the only one using the fast-drying medium of acrylic to his advantage to do so. By using acrylic paint, he was able to continue to work and add over the top with more detail of the moment of the splash without waiting for long drying times.

Using techniques similar to those that he used on A Bigger Splash, Hockney created another work involving water that just happened to become his most famous piece and highest-selling work of art, titled Pool with Two Figures.[8]This 1972 painting was created using acrylic paint on canvas and was meant to juxtapose a realistic figure gazing upon another distorted figure swimming underwater. Hockney wanted the idea of two different styles to shine in this artwork. Hockney is best known for creating artwork showcasing water, but the task of depicting a swimming pool in Pool with Two Figures was troubling to him. “‘It is an interesting formal problem; it is a formal problem to represent water, to describe water, because it can be anything. It can be any colour, and it has no set visual description,’ Hockney has said. ‘[The pool paintings] were about the surface of the water, the very thin film, the shimmering two-dimensionality.’[9]

The painting Pool with Two Figures is a renowned work that broke records and will continue to go down in history. Hockney’s process for creating this piece will also mark history as he was able to experiment with different techniques. He began photographing his own references for Pool with Two Figures with his Pentax and then went on to create an entire series of Polaroids art in 1982. Hockney was said to have started experimenting and creating work aided by photography when an art curator who visited his Hollywood home left behind some film while photographing his works. Hockney then became inspired to test out shooting Polaroid film. He also began to create composite photographs and photo collages that are seen in a lot of in his later works. Sun on the Pool Los Angeles was a work Hockney created in 1982. It was a series of Polaroid film images pieced together to make a composite view of a pool. This work was one that started Hockney’s love-hate relationship with the camera.[10]

Hockney himself at one point, was skeptical about how photography could be used to make complex art. It wasn’t until he had a breakthrough on how the medium could create two-dimensional images that he fell in love with photography. “The camera is a medium is what I suddenly realized. Its neither an art, a technique, a craft, nor a hobby- it’s a tool. It’s an extraordinary drawing tool…” The work Still Life Blue Guitar is where Hockney really started to use a camera and take photographs for his work and as his work. Hockney began to use printmaking collages in his works by using Polaroids. Still Life Blue Guitar is a composite of Polaroids taken at different angles and distances to create a patchwork composite of the subject. The idea was to see the entire subject from every possible perspective.[11]The use of new techniques and mindsets to study and depict subject matters is what led Hockney to break records with his retrospective at the Royal Academy in 2012. Curator Richard Lloyd of the Dulwich Picture Gallery described Hockney as “One of the most prolific, diverse, technically astute printmakers alive.” It is said that Hockney’s printmaking genius was showcased the Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2012. The exhibition was to celebrate Hockney’s 60 years as a printmaker. Hockney got his start in printmaking when he was in college. He found out at university that unlike painters, printmakers got their materials for free. Hockney’s quest to save money on materials may have fueled his pursuit of creating art in an unorthodox medium.[12]

Self-Portrait created in 1986 is one of Hockney’s most experimental works. It is a handmade print designed on an office copy machine. Hockney used Xerox and fax machines to test printmaking and to create this self-portrait.[13]This work reflects Hockney’s admiration for Cubism and Chinese scrolls by working on one long sheet of paper to create the piece. His self-portrait mimicked a scroll because it was meant to make the viewer’s eye move around the piece in specific ways, stop at certain places, and walk through the entire artwork.[14]Hockney’s ability to use and experiment with technology is truly masterful. Hockney has always been impressed with how impactful computer technology can drastically affect the way an image will be perceived.

           One program that can completely change the way an image looks is Photoshop. Hockney experimented with this Adobe program in its early days and has since released many works that he has drawn on his computer using the program. The Pop artist’s fascination with technology did not stop with the aid of computer programs to create art. Hockney began to draw on and use touch screen devices as soon as he got his first iPhone in 2009. His quick adoption of this technology and portable devices has not only given him a new medium to create with, but it also allows him to create anywhere.[15]Hockney had an entire set of his work on display at the Royal Academy in London that was a series of iPad drawings.The works were created during visits to Yosemite National Park in 2010 and 2011 and depicted a series of landscapes. The iPad was a way Hockney could draw the scene as he was seeing and experiencing it, in an impromptu manner.[16]The desire to explore new technology and expand his work into a new realm of completely digital played right into the Pop Art movements obsession with utilizing and discovering innovative technology.

           David Hockney’s influence and the techniques he learned impacted the Pop Art movement and art itself in ways that have earned him lasting respect well past the height of his career. Mr. Hockney himself still has articles written about him and what he is up to these days. Hockney never stopped being curious. He has always experimented with different technology and techniques, and he has loved seeing how new mediums and tools impact the way images were viewed. Hockney has tested just about every possible way that art could be created. His techniques and style still continue to be a major influence in the genre of Pop Art. These influences can be seen in the works of Saatchi artists Dean West and Ieva Baklane. Hockney’s work travels all over the world, but it can also be viewed consistently in his hometown of Yorkshire UK. Later this year, his work will be on display in multiple galleries in the US. Now 80 years old, having held the record for the highest price paid for the work of a living artist for five years until 2018, Hockney continues to make headlines in the art world.[17] Still painting for 6 to 7 hours a day and creating new works, I am sure we haven’t seen the last of David Hockney’s genius.

Fig. 1. David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967, Acrylic paint on canvas, 2425 x  2439x 30 mm, Purchased 1981 (https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-a-bigger-splash-t03254)

Fig. 2. David Hockney, Pool with Two Figures, 1972, Acrylic paint on canvas, 84 x 120 in, Purchased 2018 (https://www.christies.com/features/David-Hockney-Portrait-of-an-Artist-Pool-with-Two-Figures-9372-3.aspx)

Fig. 3. David Hockney, Sun on the Pool Los Angeles, 1982, Polaroid Film (https://thedavidhockneyfoundation.org/chronology/1982)

Fig. 4. David Hockney, Still Life Blue Guitar, 1982, Polaroid Film (https://thedavidhockneyfoundation.org/chronology/1982)

Fig. 5. David Hockney, Self-Portrait, 1986, Xerographic collage on paper, 22 x 8 ½ in, Collection of Lord and Lady Jacobs (https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2014/04/05/can-learn-david-hockney-printmaker/)

Bibliography Edit

  • Arnold, Dana, and Peters Corbett, David, eds. A Companion to British Art : 1600 to the Present. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2013. Accessed August 11, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central. https://0-ebookcentral.proquest.com.library.scad.edu/lib/scad-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1132560#   
  • “David Hockney: IPad Drawings .” David Hockney: IPad Drawings – For Sale on Artsy, www.artsy.net/collection/david-hockney-ipad-drawings
  • “David Hockney Self-Portrait.” National Portrait Gallery, npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.97.171.
  • Glass, Nick. “Hockney: An Encounter with the World’s Most Popular Artist.” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/style/article/david-hockney-at-80-interview-los-angeles/index.html. (
  • Kennedy, Maev. “David Hockney’s Printmaking Genius to Be Marked by Dulwich Picture Gallery | Maev Kennedy.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Nov. 2013, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/14/david-hockney-printmaking-genius.
  • Howgate, Sarah, and Barbara Stern Shapiro . “David Hockney.” Google Books, National Portrait Gallery, 1 Jan. 2006, books.google.com/books?id=d9C5Xnv0KowC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=david%2Bhockney%2Bself%2Bportrait%2Binspired%2Bby%2Bchinese%2Bscrolls&source=bl&ots=RN-vcs25oa&sig=ACfU3U1kU1j0YlR9PS8jhiKk7jRRy6A3Ow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi26eez2_njAhVPn-AKHWGuC2oQ6AEwFHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=david%20hockney%20self%20portrait%20inspired%20by%20chinese%20scrolls&f=false.                                                                       
  • Michalska , Madga. “David Hockney and the Camera: A Composite Polaroid Reality .” Daily Art Magazine, 21 Nov. 2018, www.dailyartmagazine.com/david-hockney-photographs/.
  • Reyburn, Scott, and Robin Pogrebin. “David Hockney Painting Sells for $90 Million, Smashing Record for Living Artist.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/11/15/arts/design/david-hockney-christies-portrait-of-an-artist-jeff-koons.html.                                                                                       
  • Staff. “An Exhibition of David Hockney’s IPad Drawings.” FAD Magazine, 23 Apr. 2016, fadmagazine.com/2016/04/23/exhibition-david-hockneys-ipad-drawings/.       
  • Takahashi, Lisa. “What We Can Learn from Hockney Printmaker.” Jackson’s Art Blog, 15 Apr. 2014, www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2014/04/05/can-learn-david-hockney-printmaker/.   
  • “The David Hockney Foundation: 1982.” Home, thedavidhockneyfoundation.org/chronology/1982
  • “David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist ( Pool with Two Figures): Christie’s.” Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) | Christie’s, Christies, 12 Dec. 2018, www.christies.com/features/David-Hockney-Portrait-of-an-Artist-Pool-with-Two-Figures-9372-3.aspx.                                                                                     

[1] Arnold, Dana, and Peters Corbett, David, eds. A Companion to British Art : 1600 to the Present. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2013. Accessed August 11, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central. (https://0-ebookcentral.proquest.com.library.scad.edu/lib/scad-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1132560#)

[2] “David Hockney: IPad Drawings .” David Hockney: IPad Drawings – For Sale on Artsy, www.artsy.net/collection/david-hockney-ipad-drawings

[3] Howgate, Sarah, and Barbara Stern Shapiro . “David Hockney.” Google Books, National Portrait Gallery, 1 Jan. 2006, books.google.com/books?id=d9C5Xnv0KowC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=david%2Bhockney%2Bself%2Bportrait%2Binspired%2Bby%2Bchinese%2Bscrolls&source=bl&ots=RN-vcs25oa&sig=ACfU3U1kU1j0YlR9PS8jhiKk7jRRy6A3Ow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi26eez2_njAhVPn-AKHWGuC2oQ6AEwFHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=david%20hockney%20self%20portrait%20inspired%20by%20chinese%20scrolls&f=false

[4] Glass, Nick. “Hockney: An Encounter with the World’s Most Popular Artist.” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/style/article/david-hockney-at-80-interview-los-angeles/index.html

[5] “David Hockney Self-Portrait.” National Portrait Gallery, npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.97.171.

[6] Glass, Nick. “Hockney: An Encounter with the World’s Most Popular Artist.” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/style/article/david-hockney-at-80-interview-los-angeles/index.html

[7] Howgate, Sarah, and Barbara Stern Shapiro . “David Hockney.” Google Books, National Portrait Gallery, 1 Jan. 2006, books.google.com/books?id=d9C5Xnv0KowC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=david%2Bhockney%2Bself%2Bportrait%2Binspired%2Bby%2Bchinese%2Bscrolls&source=bl&ots=RN-vcs25oa&sig=ACfU3U1kU1j0YlR9PS8jhiKk7jRRy6A3Ow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi26eez2_njAhVPn-AKHWGuC2oQ6AEwFHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=david%20hockney%20self%20portrait%20inspired%20by%20chinese%20scrolls&f=false

[8]  Kennedy, Maev. “David Hockney’s Printmaking Genius to Be Marked by Dulwich Picture Gallery | Maev Kennedy.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Nov. 2013, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/14/david-hockney-printmaking-genius.

[9] “David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist ( Pool with Two Figures): Christie’s.” Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) | Christie’s, Christies, 12 Dec. 2018, www.christies.com/features/David-Hockney-Portrait-of-an-Artist-Pool-with-Two-Figures-9372-3.aspx

[10] Michalska , Madga. “David Hockney and the Camera: A Composite Polaroid Reality .” Daily Art Magazine, 21 Nov. 2018, www.dailyartmagazine.com/david-hockney-photographs/

[11] “The David Hockney Foundation: 1982.” Home, thedavidhockneyfoundation.org/chronology/1982

[12]    Kennedy, Maev. “David Hockney’s Printmaking Genius to Be Marked by Dulwich Picture Gallery | Maev Kennedy.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Nov. 2013, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/14/david-hockney-printmaking-genius.

[13] Takahashi, Lisa. “What We Can Learn from Hockney Printmaker.” Jackson’s Art Blog, 15 Apr. 2014, www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2014/04/05/can-learn-david-hockney-printmaker/

[14] “David Hockney Self-Portrait.” National Portrait Gallery, npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.97.171.

[15] “David Hockney: IPad Drawings .” David Hockney: IPad Drawings – For Sale on Artsy, www.artsy.net/collection/david-hockney-ipad-drawings.

[16] Staff. “An Exhibition of David Hockney’s IPad Drawings.” FAD Magazine, 23 Apr. 2016, fadmagazine.com/2016/04/23/exhibition-david-hockneys-ipad-drawings/.        

[17] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/15/arts/design/david-hockney-christies-portrait-of-an-artist-jeff-koons.html

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on the UKDiss.com website then please: