Today sees David Hockney’s 81st birthday.
Considered one of Britain’s most influential artists Hockney graduated from the Bradford School of Art in 1958, and then the Royal College of Art in 1962, and went on to be one of the most important figures in the British ‘60’s pop movement, with his painting ‘A Bigger Splash’ considered to be one of the most important pieces of the movement.
Classifying Hockney is tricky- he has worked in a huge range of media- from various styles of painting and drawing, across photography, to the more unusual; he is not afraid of embracing new technologies as they emerge- this has in the past included a fax machine, and more recently he has produced iPad installations.
Hockney has worked on an extensive number of theatrical projects: particularly across Operatic productions, and has designed art works for a number of Hollywood movies- it’s rare to find an artist with as many credits as found for Hockney on IMDB
A winner of many prizes including the John Moores Painting Prize in 1967, and recipient of numerous awards including Royal Academician and an Honorary Doctorate from Oxford, Hockney declined a British Knighthood in 1990, but accepted a Companion of Honour in 1997- ‘a reward for outstanding achievements and is “conferred upon a limited number of persons for whom this special distinction seems to be the most appropriate form of recognition, constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit.’ (source Wikipedia)
In 2012 he accepted the Order of Merit- this came one year after Hockney was voted the most influential British Artist of all time in a poll by over 1,000 British Artists
Hockney has had over 400 solo exhibitions around the world, and continues to work tirelessly in his early eighties, frequently standing for more than eight hours at a time at his easel.
In 2008 he created the David Hockney Foundation– a registered charity whose mission is stated as:
‘to advance appreciation and understanding of visual art and culture through the exhibition, preservation, and publication of David Hockney’s work.’
In 2012 donated paintings with an estimated value in the region of £80 million to the charity, which now owns more than 8,000 of his pieces.
IN June 2018 Hockney’s ‘Le Parc des Sources’ pained by Hockney forty years ago was transported to Newcastle for the Great Exhibition of the North
Happy Birthday Mr. Hockney!