David Hockney - 80’s LA Sunset
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Hockney was born in Bradford , England, to Laura and Kenneth Hockney. He was educated at Wellington Primary School, Bradford Grammar School, Bradford College of Art (where his teachers included Frank Lisle and his fellow students included Norman Stevens, David Oxtoby and John Loker) and the Royal College of Art in London, where he met R. B. Kitaj. While there, Hockney said he felt at home and took pride in his work. At the Royal College of Art, Hockney featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries—alongside Pauline Boty & Peter Blake—that announced the arrival of British Pop art. He was associated with the movement, but his early works display expressionist elements, similar to some works by Francis Bacon. When the RCA said it would not let him graduate in 1962, Hockney drew the sketch The Diploma in protest. He had refused to write an essay required for the final examination, saying he should be assessed solely on his artworks. Recognising his talent and growing reputation, the RCA changed its regulations and awarded the diploma. After leaving the RCA, he taught at Maidstone College of Art for a short time.
A visit to California, where he subsequently lived for many years, inspired him to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in the comparatively new acrylic medium rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colours. The artist moved to Los Angeles in 1964, returned to London in 1968, and from 1973 to 1975 lived in Paris. In 1974 he began a decade-long personal relationship with Gregory Evans who moved with him to the US in 1976 and as of 2017 remains a business partner. In 1978 he rented the canyon house in which he lived when he moved to Los Angeles, and later bought and expanded it to include his studio. He also owned a 1,643-square-foot beach house at 21039 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, which he sold in 1999 for around $1.5 million.
Hockney is openly gay, and has openly explored the nature of gay love in his portraiture. Sometimes, as in We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), named after a poem by Walt Whitman, the works refer to his love for men. Already in 1963, he painted two men together in the painting Domestic Scene, Los Angeles, one showering while the other washes his back. In summer 1966, while teaching at UCLA he met Peter Schlesinger, an art student who posed for paintings and drawings, and with whom he was romantically involved.
Pure Evil explains that a chance email from a Chinese “copy village” gave impetus to his “Nightmare Series.” The village offered, via email, a list of artists it could reproduce, including three Andy Warhol paintings. The idea of Warhol’s entire artistic output distilled right down to three small 64 x64 pixel thumbnails of Jackie Kennedy, Liz Taylor and an Electric Chair became the inspiration for these doomed and dripping celebrity portraits. Why are they crying ? “Its an illustration of the heartbreak and sadness we have all experienced in relationships in the past.”