David Hockney is one of the most widely lauded and influential modern visual artists. An essential contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, his work helped to precede the postmodern art movement, and unsurprisingly, they covered every aspect of the human condition.
In 1961, Hockney burst onto the scene via the Royal Society for British Artists exhibition, Young Contemporaries, which also showcased the likes of Peter Blake, Pauline Boty and others, helping to put the burgeoning pop art movement on the map.
The interesting thing about Hockney, and perhaps why he is career has continued even into old age, is the way that his style and influences are varied. Not solely a pop art progenitor, his work also contains flecks of diverse aspects of artistic interpretation. Expressionism, printmaking, photo collages, cubism, Plein air landscapes and even iPad drawings make up his vast portfolio. In a sense, his work can be taken as a compendium of modern art. If we were to attribute musical terms to Hockney’s work, you could label it ‘fusion’.
His life and work is captivating and comprised of many distinct chapters. Whether that be his Bradford upbringing alongside many of the other future pop art figures such as Pauline Boty and Derek Boshier, his time at the Royal College of Art, hanging out with R. B. Kitaj, Hockney’s life reads like a work of art in of itself.
Another significant point to mention is that Hockney possesses synaesthetic associations between sound, colour and shape. Understandably, this bleeds into his work, giving his pieces a more authentic feel than many of his contemporaries. No matter what medium he uses, his works are vivid and emotionally stirring, and we can all find something within them.
One of the standouts from his career is undoubtedly his Plein air landscapes. During the 1990s, Hockney found himself returning to Yorkshire, where he would stay with his terminally ill friend, Jonathan Silver. It was Silver who encouraged him to capture the local surroundings, and it was the results of this encouragement that confirmed Hockney as a true genius.
A master of the visual arts, these became some of his most celebrated efforts. He would settle in Yorkshire and produce some of his most visually striking and poetic works.