David Hockney’s Artistic Style – What Were David Hockney Artworks


This year marks 84 years of David Hockney artist – one of the most influential and daring British artists of the twentieth century and a key figure in the pop art movement, who was one of the first to openly speak the language of painting and photography about same-sex love. From photo collages and opera posters to cubist-inspired abstractions and country landscapes: David Hockney’s influences have dabbled in a wide variety of genres and styles in his more than sixty-year career.

The legendary artist, who has stepped resolutely into the age of technology, continues to seek and find new ways of expression today while remaining the same rebel faithful to his love for bright colors and bold compositions.

In this article, you will learn:

  • about the life and fate of David Hockney;
  • about the main stages of his creative path;
  • about the life philosophy of David;
  • on the topic of homosexuality in his art;
  • interesting facts from the life of the most expensive artist of our time.

Biography of David Hockney

david hockney photo

David Hockney (artist) was born in 1937 in Bradford, a small industrial town in the north of England. His father Kenneth was an extremely eccentric person, although he worked all his life as an ordinary clerk. He wore two pairs of wristwatches in case one broke and never left the house without a hat, tie, and cane. Kenneth was a member of the organization for nuclear disarmament and a communist with a rather romantic and naive view of the Soviet Union. In the morning, David’s father sent letters with his ideas about war and peace to political leaders: Stalin, Eisenhower, and Mao, and in the evenings he took courses at the local art school.

It was his father who played a decisive role in the formation of David Hockney’s work as an artist and personality: he encouraged his son’s passion for art in every possible way and taught David not to be afraid to stand out from the crowd and not pay attention to what others say about you.

Laura, David’s mother, was a devout Methodist and vegan. She tried to raise her son on religious principles, but she did not really succeed in this. David Hockney’s pop art had a very warm relationship with his mother: he came to Bradford every Christmas until her death at the age of 99. Portraits of Laura Hockney are one of the most frequent themes in the artist’s work.



As a pacifist, Hockney refused to do military service “for reasons of conscience” and instead worked in a hospital for two years. At the same time, David discovered Sergei Diaghilev, a legendary theatrical and artistic figure who openly declared his homosexuality and was accepted by society. His honesty about his sexuality gave David Hockney style the courage to reveal his own.

At 22, Hockney moved to London and entered the Royal College of Art. He studied brilliantly, and even then his works won prizes and were acquired in private collections. David experimented with different styles and directions, especially with abstract expressionism.

The young artist was greatly influenced by the exhibition of Pablo Picasso at the Tate Gallery, which he visited eight times, his acquaintance with the American artist Ron China and the poetry of Walt Whitman. Poems of the latter David Hockney cubism eagerly read, they also inspired him to a series of “love” paintings.

We Two Boys Together Clinging

The 1961 work “We Two Boys Together Clinging” was the first reflection of the theme of homosexuality in his art. Having written on the canvas an excerpt from Whitman’s work, Hockney told the world that he would live the life he wanted: “We enjoy the strength, stretch our elbows, clench our fingers. Armed and fearless, we eat, drink, sleep, love. “

References to contemporary visual culture, graffiti-like scribbles, and flashy colors characteristic of David Hockney pop art during the period were disapproved by teachers, but were enthusiastically received by critics and became a significant contribution to the development of British pop art in the 60s.

In his final year of study, David Hockney’s photography style refused to write his thesis on principle, arguing that an artist should be judged solely on the basis of his artistic success. As a protest, David drew a sketch called “Thesis”. A big scandal erupted, but in the end, Hockney still received his diploma. After graduating from college, Hockney traveled around Europe, visited Rome, Florence, and Berlin. Upon his return to London, the artist briefly taught at the Maidstone School of Art and moved to a new studio in the Notting Hill area. Gradually, Hockney delved into the theme of romantic intimacy and began to paint couples in home interiors and scenes in the shower.

David Hockney Inspiration

david hockney artwork

The years spent in America influenced David Hockney’s art style perception of his homeland and made him look at England with different eyes. In the works of this period, British restrained nature appears in vivid color, reminiscent of the paintings of Van Gogh and the primitivists. Hockney himself did not deny the influence of the great Dutchman, who was and still is a source of inspiration for the artist.

Hockney transformed the manicured dull fields and forests of East Yorkshire into vibrant, sun-drenched, contrasting spaces filled with vibrant greens, pinks, oranges, and purples. David wanted the viewer to be able to “enter the landscape, feel himself inside” the picture. Therefore, the size of some works reaches more than three meters in height and ten, and they are composed of dozens of canvases.

david hockney

David Hockney’s has designed the sets for a total of eight productions. At the same time, he never stopped saying that he was not interested either in theater as such or in theater design. The first play that the artist designed was The King of Kill, staged in 1966 at the Royal Court, a small theater in London’s West End. David simply could not resist the absurd, defying the norms and conventions of the playwright Alfred Jarry.

So, you have learned all the most important about the art of David Hockney, we really hope that our information surprised you, and you will share it with your friends.

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