David Hockney – a Yorkshire Lad

The Hockney 1853 gallery is housed in a beautiful old mill in Shipley, Yorkshire. I was lucky to spend a lovely weekend with friends nearby and we visited Salts Mill. We ogled at the beautiful home wares store, had a wonderful lunch in the restaurant and then took to the Hockney gallery like children in a sweet shop. My vocabulary was fairly limited to ” Oh Wow!” and ” Oh Gosh, isn’t that stunning?” I had just arrived in Yorkshire, but the farmland and iridescent green of the hills that he captures in his painting were the glimpses I saw, as the train cut its way through the lush landscape.

David Hockney is a Yorkshire lad. He was born in Bradford and educated at the Bradford School of Art aged 16. He went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London in 1959.

The swinging sixties in Los Angeles and London were a time of experimentation in his art and his life. Openly gay, at a time others weren’t and open too about his drug use, Hockney became the enfant terrible of the international art scene and by 1970’s he was highly successful. He settled permanently in LA in 1978 and still keeps a house there.  In 2002 Hockney moved to the Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington. He is proudly seen as a local Yorkshire boy who made good. He’s now 81 years old and still painting and writing.

Hockney has written his autobiography and researched  another book about the old masters. He Declined an offer to paint a portrait of the queen. Hockney eschews awards and titles and  famously said ” I don’t value prizes of any sort. I value my friends.”

He does however make excellent money from his talent with Portrait of an Artist (Pool with 2 figures) selling for $US 90.3 million in November 2018. See the video clip below.

The collection at Salt Mill speaks of the surrounding area and he knows this place well. The detail of his painting, the tonal shades of green, the interplay of light on the landscape and the vitality of the images impress. I smiled at the couple together on their phones. This visit made me want to know more.

This video provides insight into his most famous painting. What do you think?

17 June 2019 | Arts

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