David Hockney RA

David Hockney RA

David Hockney RA is an English painter who also works in printmaking, photography and stage design. He is often considered Britain's greatest living artist, and one of the most influential.

Artist profile

David Hockney RA studied at Bradford School of Art from 1953 to 1957 and the Royal College of Art from 1959 until 1962. Despite nearly not graduating - Hockney refused to write an essay or his final exam, deciding he should be judged on his artwork alone - he was awarded both his diploma and the Royal College of Art gold medal in 1962 in recognition of his mastery as a draughtsman and his innovative paintings. 

Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 and began producing highly evocative, sometimes homoerotic, iconic images of urban life, often featuring friends, assistants or lovers. His work has since evolved to include dramatic landscapes, photography, printmaking and stage designs for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Los Angeles Music Centre Opera. More recently, he has produced digital artworks using iPads.

Hockney was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1991. His blockbuster David Hockney: A Bigger Picture opened at the RA in 2012. The show featured large-scale works inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape, including his monumental The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty-eleven).

After 2012, Hockney turned away from painting and from his Yorkshire home, returning to Los Angeles. Slowly he began to return to the quiet contemplation of portraiture. Over the months that followed, he became absorbed by the genre, creating a series of artworks that became the 2016 exhibition David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life.

© David Hockney. Photo: Jean-Pierre Goncalves de Lima