David Hockney was born on July 9, 1937 in Bradford, Yorkshire -- the fourth of five children in a traditional middle class English family. Hockney's father was an accountant an an amateur artist and his mother was a devoted homemaker who instilled in her children a serious work ethic. Since graduating from Bradford School of Art in the late 1950s, Hockney has been making waves in the art world. See an illustrated chronology on his website here. He first began to achieve international acclaim through his pool paintings, done on a trip to Southern California where he met Christopher Isherwood and Kenneth E. Tyler, among other like-minded writers and artists. It was here that Hockney met his former boyfriend and painting subject, photographer Peter Schlesinger, who told the Daily Beast this year that Hockney “taught me that you learn painting by doing it."
British artist David Hockney stands before one of his paintings of the East Yorkshire landscape at The Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, London, ahead of his exhibition called 'A Bigger Picture'. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
In 1986, the Television Personalities recorded their tongue-in-cheek album, "They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles." On the second song, they sing, wistfully, "Most of all, I want to be in David Hockney's diaries..." referring to the seminal 1970s documentary about the English painter, where he talks about getting his inspirations from photo diaries of his life and travels. Hockey seems to know everyone worth knowing in the art world and beyond, and it's no surprise that he'll get lambasted and venerated in equal measure.
Despite the changing tides of the art world, Hockney continues pursuing his passion for representational landscapes, and employs traditional painting techniques or novel ones on his iPad. However, his relationship to technology isn't new; in 1985, the artist used the Quantel Paintbox to "paint" on a screen. Seventeen years later, he depicted the Queen in an iPad drawing to mark the Jubilee. His latest exhibition, entitled, "A Bigger Picture," is spending the summer and early fall at the Guggenheim in Bilbao after a successful run at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Happy birthday, to Britain's most famous living painter!
See a slideshow of his latest work below: