Monday, May 19, 2008

Research Paper

David Hockney is an English pop art artist born in Bradford, England in 1937 to Laura and Kenneth Hockney. (Hockney 7) He is one of those rare artists that have mastered many forms of art. He has all forms art, from photo collages to oil paintings to printmaking; he had experienced and endured it all. David Hockney had repeatedly been call and known for one of the best, if not the best British artist of his generation. (Silver, 2) Anyone who knows a clue about art will know if there is a swimming pool in a piece, the piece will most likely be Hockney’s. Growing up in Bradford, Hockney was not really concerned about what others distinguish him as. Most people thought of him as eccentric, but he didn’t care. He was just a little kid at the time. At the age of 9, since Hockney’s parents put a huge value on education and wanted all their kids to achieve in education Hockney had won a scholarship to one of the leading schools in the country. (Hockney 8) The school was known as Bradford Grammar school. While attending Bradford Grammar, Hockney had taken some art classes and enjoyed them for the most part. Here, at the school he developed a liking for art and decided he wanted to become an artist.

I was born in Bradford in 1937. At the age of eleven I’d decided in, in my mind, that I wanted to become an artist, but the meaning of the work ‘artist’ to me then was very vague- the man who made Christmas cards was an artist, the man who painted posters was an artist, the man who did lettering for posters was an artist. Anyone was an artist who in his job had to pick up a brush and paint something. (Hockney, 7)

After attending Bradford Grammar school, he transferred to Regional College of
Art so that he could further his studies in art. Hockney (Biography). In 1953, Hockney enrolled in the College of art and began experimenting with oil paints. At the College of Art, Hockney learned many things. He learned that painting was a seeing and thinking process, rather than an imitation. Abstract was Hockney’s art theme and he focused his art on personal things. The year 1959, Hockney enrolled in the Painting School of the Royal College in London, this college is where he would achieve attention nationally as an artist.
My paper will focus on how Hockney merges his life into his artwork. The media I decided was his famous Polaroid photo collages. The three pieces are going to be photo collages by David Hockney. The names of the collages are called Place Furstenberg, Paris, Pearblossom Highway and Merced River. All of these photo collages were created between the years of 1982 and 1986. I choose these pieces because they struck me in interest. In addition, these three pieces happen to be the most famous and all the pieces have quite a bit to meaning. The first piece I will focus on is called Place Furstenberg, Paris then I will switch to the piece Pearblossom Highway, and lastly the collage called Merced River.
Hockney is one of those uncommon painters who are known for more than what they achieved. He is known for who he is as a person as well. Livingstone (11). He uses his art talents to express love he feels for others. His work is not just a bunch of colors, no, they have more meaning. Hockney’s work clearly depicts his life and his love ones. Hockney photo collage medium differs from his other media because in Hockney’s photo collage he is able to express more. Life is seen in his collages while his other media does not hold the same message. Hockney photo collages are indeed of actual places and people, while his paintings and drawings are not.
David Hockney started off like most artists, unknown and not famous. Today, Hockney is considered one of if not the best British contemporary artist in the 21st century. Silver (2) He repeatedly been called on of the leading pop artist and is known for his dyed blonde hair and his glasses. When Hockney creates a Polaroid, he puts together hundreds of Polaroid images from a single scene to make large mural of photos. (Scheips).
Hockney is indeed a strange artist. He does not trust many people except for the people around him and his love ones. He does not believe an artist capability until he is able to see. Hockney once said “Any respectable art historian would never go only by an artist’s words; he would look for evidence of them in his artwork.” Hockney (7)
Hockney owes his success to many reasons; his wit and versatitly of his work are some reasons. Furthermore, Hockney’s colorful personality should credit his success. Because Hockney’s posses these traits, he was able to become recognizable to not only artists, but also the attention of people not interested in art. (Pioch) “Undoubtedly Hockney’s popularity can be attributed not simply to his visual wit and panache but also to this appeal to our own escapist instincts.” (Barrow) Hockney is surely an interesting artist. He is one of those artists that do not stick with the media he grew famous off of, instead Hockney is the type of artist that likes to explore with many different media and is the type of artist that will not just stick with one media just because a particular media had made him famous.
A lot of Hockney’s photo collages focuses on cubism. Cubism affects how Hockney creates his pieces and how he experimented with them.

The photographic experiments that Hockney has been pursuing obsessively since 1982, a rephrasing of the multiple viewpoints of cubism in the form of composite images, have so fundamentally altered his conception of the kind of information that one can convey in a picture that he has felt compelled to develop equivalent techniques in his drawing and painting his discoveries with the camera, and the theories he has developed in the advantages of a “moving focus” over the fixed one-point perspective devised in the Renaissance, have affected startling transformations in his hand-wrought images. (Livingstone, prefix)

Cubism began as an art movement in the 20th century, triggered by the artist Pablo Picasso and Georges Barque. Cubism did not only inspire visual art, but Cubism inspired music and literature as well. The first branch of cubism is known as Analytic Cubism while the second branch is known or called as Synthetic cubism. (Livingstone, prefix)
Hockney’s Polaroid photo collages are massive and well recognized. Unlike most artists, Hockney refers to his photo collages as “joiners”. (Scheips) The creation of a joiner is Hockney put together a series of photographs which he takes all at once and merges the pictures in a way to make a realistic image. (Scheips)
The photo collage Place Furstenberg, Paris was done in 1985, August 7th to the 9th. He created the piece vibrant in color with many different types of hues. All shades of green are shown in every object and are vibrantly displayed. From the trees to the buildings to the sidewalk, everything is diverse in colors. How Hockney created this photo collage was he originally had scenery which he took hundreds upon hundreds of photos which later he creates as one beautiful piece.
Hockney photocollages seem different from most artists. Hockney’s collages are large and massive while most other artists’ collages are small or tiny. The reason for Hockney’s different approach for creating a photo collage compared to other artists is perhaps because Hockney views things differently from most people. Hockney himself said “I’ve often thought about the way I see. For years, I’ve thought my eyes are funny or something. Kept thinking how much can you really see. For years, I’ve thought my eyes are funny or something. Kept thinking how much can you really see and what is it you really take in as your eyes moves about focusing.” Edekal (prefix) Concluding, Hockney’s art is made for his viewers. His drawings are designed in a special way so that they can be animated to be in the mind of the viewer. Livingstone (197)
The object that first catches your eye is the huge tree which takes up a good portion of the piece. The tree is mostly green with some tints of brown. The trunk of the tree is brown while the topper part has a darker brown shade mixed with some green. The top of the tree however, is the lightest part. The leaves of the tree carry a similar completion that the trunk has. The leaves of the tree come in all different shapes and sizes. The darker shape leaves are much larger than those with a lighter tint.
The item that least catches your eye is the little square almost in the middle of the collage which is an image of the sky. That little piece is the only visible image of the sky. What's more is that I noticed that there is another tree in the picture. The other tree is much darker than the bigger one. The trunk of the tree though, is the lightest part. The completion is a yellowish and brownish hint, surrounded by a bunch of little rocks.
Another thing that my eye caught was that there are only two cars in the whole piece of art. It’s interesting that Hockney decided to make the cars tiny. The cars colors are red and black. Which sticks out when put near the white apartments.
As a whole, the picture is very vibrant. The colors are light and sunny. When looking at the picture, the viewer feels a warm and welcoming scene. The picture, I noticed is only straight at the top of the picture. Every other side is not even. The bottom part of the picture is the roughest part of the picture compared to every other side. The picture as a whole does not look real. Only a couple of little squares can be view as real to the viewer.
I would like to add on that located in the very center of the picture is of a dark, small building. The small building is sticking to the viewer because the viewer would think the center piece of the collage will be much bigger and more eye catching than what it is now. There is an ample amount of windows. Everywhere the viewer looks, there are windows. The windows mostly occupied the top half of the picture. None are seen in the bottom half. One thing I noticed about the windows is that they all are dark. The windows are covered by shades which I find interesting because the picture as a whole is very bright and lively. That is not the same case with the windows, however. The viewer who looks at the window senses darkness and not much hope.
The picture is very diverse with every element. From shapes to hints there is diversity. The top of the picture is busy, filled with everything from apartments to windows to leaves. The bottom part of the picture is not as fortunate as the top half, though. The bottom part of the picture is indeed extremely plain. There is nothing important but the trunks of the trees.
My eye caught a lot of parallel things and doubles in the photo collage. There are two trees, which appear almost exactly alike. There are two cars and two doors included in the collage. What is parallel I noticed are the trees and the buildings. Perhaps, Hockney is trying to tell his viewer that life always comes in pairs.
Looking at the photo collage, which appears to be a square in Paris, the viewer could easily see the difference between a square in Paris compared to a square in the United States. The square is very clear and clean of garbage compared to America, where people just throw everything on the ground and litter. Hockney as a person has much more respect for European countries than America. Although Hockney believes that the landscape in America is fascinating Hockney knows the menu of a restaurant every time he pulls up into the driveway. Hockney (106) The streets, as the viewer sees do not have paper or anything other type or form of trash. This square, I believe belongs to a rather rich area in Europe. Nothing poor is visible in the picture.
The picture in addition has very earthy colors like earth brown and earth green. There is no neon, bright or dark colors, except for the shades used in the picture. There also happens to be a lot of natural colors. Like the sidewalk and the door on the very edge of the picture. One thing that struck me about this picture is why there is only one visible door. There maybe other doors but the other doors are not visible to the viewer. Why did Hockney create the picture like this? Doors symbolize freedom and hope. Windows usually symbolizes freedom but in this photo collage the windows appear to symbolizes death and loneliness. Why did Hockney make this picture the way he did? I believe that he wants to show his viewers that there are always to sides or everything. There is always a dark side and a light side. There is always a hope side and not so bright side. Like everything in life, there is always two sides of things, just like this picture. Which Hockney did a great job describing.
Hockney has concluded that we as human beings have become enslaved to the limiting way if seeing by the lens with camera made images. Hockney understands his duty as being able repelled by the surface of the photograph, and he clearly understands his duty as being to demonstrate what the eyes and the hand together can achieve in producing a more human, truthful and subjective account of reality. (Livingstone & Heymer, 7)
Pearblossom Highway is next famous descriptive photo collage by Hockney. The setting for this collage appears to be a deserted highway somewhere in the center of California. There are words on the actual highway that reads “STOP AHEAD” in bold, white letters. I believe Hockney put these words in the highway because the words symbolize life. Also, my eye noticed that there are a lot of stop signs and symbols that symbolizes stop. I can see the word stop three times on the highway and one stop sign which is bold a red. I believe Hockney is trying to stress the meaning of stop in people’s lives. Because in life, one would have to stop many times in order to succeed. This was what Hockney was trying to interrupt in his picture Pear Blossom highway.
My eye caught in the photo collage is that the bottom of the collage is filled with non lively colors. For example, like beige, gray, and black. Furthermore, there is litter everywhere and dead grass and weeds. The top of the collage however is the complete opposite; the top is filled in a very vibrant color blue. The viewer who looks at that color will feel life and happiness. In addition, the beginning of the photo is filled with litter while there is not that much litter while up the highway.
Additionally, as the highway travels up, I noticed that there is a beach at the end of the highway. If there is a beach at the end of the highway, the beach will make the collage even more meaningful. The collage is trying to say that in the beginning of life, people are unknowing of what they will do in their future or that they are lost in life. This period should happen around peoples’ teenage years or early twenties. The end of the highway symbolizes certainty and strength about one’s life. I noticed that the same theme is portrayed in the collage at the top and bottom of the collage.
Additionally, the first sign in the highway contains an arrow, a red stop sign, and a sign that reads stop ahead. This I believe is that Hockney is trying to symbolize the importance of stopping in one’s life and how important it is to stop in order to get where one wants to. Because the sign contains both the stop sign and an arrow, this is why I thought this. Moreover, another reason to back up why I believe Hockney is trying to show success in this massive photo collage is because at the top of the photo collage there is a sign that contains the date December 31, 1999. This is interesting because Hockney created this collage in April 1986, 11th to the 18th. Why would Hockney create a photo collage with a sign that contains a date that is not relevant to the date that he created the piece? It took me a while to get what the sign means, but if you study the sign carefully enough, you will notice that the sign reads, December, 31, 1999. It’s interesting that Hockney choose this date because that date is just one date before a new millennium. The year 2000 does not only symbolize a new millennium, but it could also symbolize a new century and a new decade as well. So it is very interesting that Hockney choose this date. December happens to be the last month before another year starts and the same goes for the day 31st. 31st is the last day any month could possible contain before a new month beings.
Pearblossom Highway' shows a crossroads in a very wide open space, which you only get a sense of in the western United States. . . . [The] picture was not just about a crossroads, but about us driving around. I'd had three days of driving and being the passenger. The driver and the passenger see the road in different ways. When you drive you read all the road signs, but when you're the passenger, you don't, you can decide to look where you want. And the picture dealt with that: on the right-hand side of the road it's as if you're the driver, reading traffic signs to tell you what to do and so on, and on the left-hand side it's as if you're a passenger going along the road more slowly, looking all around. So the picture is about driving without the car being in it. Thus David Hockney described the circumstances leading to the creation of this photo collage of the scenic Pearblossom Highway north of Los Angeles. His detailed collage reveals the more mundane observations of a road trip. The littered cans and bottles and the meandering line where the pavement ends and the sand begins point to the interruption of the desert landscape by the roads cutting through it and the imprint of careless travelers. (The J. Paul Getty Trust)
This quote is Hockney’s own description of what they see when they look at the collage. Hockney’s idea and theme of the collage is much different from mine. The quote though, was said before Hockney even created the collage.
When Hockney creates a collage or a different media, Hockney is able to through his pieces reflect back images of the external world and also recreate the viewer’s process of seeing so that we can invent art in a world in which we the viewer can experience the visceral reality of space and time, physical substance, change and movement. Livingstone (9)
Hockney did actually spent quite some time of his life in California. (Pioch) He had settled in California in the 80’s and has based a lot of his work off of Californian life. (Pioch) Pearblossom is a town in the Los Angeles County, which is important because when Hockney lived in America, Hockney lived in Los Angeles, California. A lot of Hockney’s work is based off of California and the simple life Californians have. (Livingstone)
Piece #3 is called Merced River, which is another massive and famous photo collage by David Hockney, of course. Merced River happens to be the first famous collage Hockney created. When looking at the piece Merced River, the first thing that catches my eye is nothing in particular. The photo collage, Merced River is based on a River in the famous Yosemite Park located right smack in the middle of the beautiful state California. Many artists come to the park to base their work off of. Merced River has inspired many paintings, pictures and photo collages by various artists.

Artists are the eyes for the other people who don’t have time to spend looking at and finding out about nature. It’s nature that you must be taught to see. As well as color. Color is the most fugitive element of a picture. Without color pictures will really be nothing more than a picture. Picture with colors has meanings and depth compared to pictures with no colors. Color present in a picture is fugitive in life and its fugitive in the physical reality of the picture. Edekal (prefix)

Merced River is a famous river located in one of the most famous park in all of America. Artists like to come to this park because of the beauty the park holds. Everything in the park is elaborate and beautiful, especially the river. The river’s water is nice and lush with a white and blue color. As the viewer can see, the river is not polluted by junk. Instead, the water is polluted by cleanliness and life. The river’s water movement is fast and rapid, which means there is a river close by.
One thing I noticed about this collage is that unlike Hockney other famous collages, like Furstenberg Place, Paris and Pearblossom Highway, is that both the pieces are arranged both in a almost perfect rectangle. Also, the other two photo collages is filled in with pictures, there are no white spaces anywhere. This piece however is quite different from the other two. This piece has quite a bit of white spaces between each photo and is not in a well known shape.
Additionally, I noticed about the picture is that the collage holds a very still, relaxing effect on the viewer. The reason I say this is because of all the natural elements the collage possesses. Earth, water, and air is all shown in the collage. One thing that struck me about this photo collage is that nobody is present in the collage. Yosemite Park is a very famous park in California, so why is nobody present? Having none present in the collage I believe is what makes the collage calm and relaxing. If the collage did have people, then I believe the calmness and relaxing effect would not be as effective to the viewer.
There are parts of the collage which are not covered, instead of pictures, there are white spaces. In every one of Hockney’s photo collages that I seen, famous or not, there are no white spaces in the collage. This collage, however, is different. Why, though? Out of all the collages, why did Hockney make this collage different?
Yosemite Park, as I said earlier, is a mark located right in the middle of California. The reason why much of Hockney’s photo collage does not contain any human beings is because during the 80s, Hockney had lost a lot of his friends to aids. Livingstone & Heymer (8 & 9) during the years of 1980s, Hockney eliminated people in his artwork because he sought after to sense aloneness in his pieces. (Livingstone & Heymer, 9). By concentrating on such descriptions, Hockney was able to shelter himself emotionally against confronting the depth of his sense of loss. (Livingstone & Heymer, 9) Hockney loss of friends clearly depicts so in his work. Although the Merced River collage appears to be smooth and calming, it also holds quite the opposite meaning. The collage holds a depressing and loneliness appearance as well. By removing people in his artwork, Hockney believed he could become more alone because he felt alone in his life with the lost of his friends.
David Hockney, the great, famous David Hockney is a well known and well respected artist. He is known for his bleach dyed blonde hair and his childish, boyish glasses. (Scheips) He is one of those rare artists that have achieved a lot within his career. David Hockney has mastered all forms of media and became quite successful. Sliver (2) David Hockney has been repeatedly called one of the best British artists of his time and has constantly been called one of the leading artists of pop art. He is famous for merging his life into his art and is one of those uncommon artists that have the ability to inspire many growing artists.



Works Cited

Barrow, Mark. “20th Century British and International Contemporary Art.” 2005. Modern British Artist. <http://www.modernbritishartists.co.uk/hockney_biog.htm>

The website is a biography of David Hockney talking about his life and how he discovered art. Also, the site describes the different techniques Hockney creates when making a piece.


Hockney, David. Pictures. Great Britain: Harry N. Abrams, 76 & 79.

The book contains all types of Hockney’s media. Pictures and sketches are both presented in this book. About half the pieces have color while the other half does not. The pieces that do contain colors are sketches while the colored pieces are pictures. There are a lot of repeated images within the book for example like curtains, houses, and pools.


Livingstone, Marco. David Hockney. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996.

The book gives the reader a descriptive journey of Hockney’s work from the beginning of his work all the way to his most recent. The book includes medium of his photo collages and his highly stage designs for the opera.


Livingstone, Marco. David Hockney Revised and Updated Edition. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1981 and 1987.

Livingstone explores Hackney’s life and art. Hockney’s art clearly depicts his life and his love ones. There is quite an abundant of pictures containing a pool. Some pictures are vibrant in colors while others are not.


Livingstone, Marco and Heymer, Kay. Hockney’s people. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2003.

Hockney is fascinated by people. Hockney’s people give a valuable glimpse of the moment when life and art meet. Through Hockney’s artwork, the viewer is able to see that Hockney clearly loves his mother. Every type of Hockney’s artwork is expressed in this book.


Pioch, Nicolas. “Hockney, David. 2002. Webmusuem, Paris. <http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/hockney/>

Paper contains information about how Hockney became a pop up artist. The website displays his work and goes into deeper meaning about his pop art.


Scheipps, Charlie. “Hockney Time.” The Art Set. 2004. <http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/contributors/artset/artset11_19_04.php>

Paper talks mainly about Hockney Polaroid pictures. Also, the paper includes a biography of Hockney’s life and who influences his artwork.


Silver, Kenneth E. David Hockney. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 1994.

Hockney is known worldwide for his colorful and classically composed images of sunshine, swimming pools and the good life of California. The book contains pictures of Hockney’s early life as an artist and all the pictures are vibrant in color.


“Pearblossom Hwy.”, 11th 18th April 1986, #2. The Getty. 1986. “The J. Paul Getty Trust.


A brief summary about Hockney’s famous photo collage called Pearblossom highway. There is a quote by Hockney himself about how he imagined the collage to be before he created it.




Works Consulted


Adam, Peter. David Hockney and His Friends. New York: The Cromwell Press, 1997.

The author leads the readers through Hockley’s artistic development. The beginning of the book shows Hockney’s early stages while the end shows Hockney’s late and advanced stages. The book shows his friends and lovers who helped his imagination.


Baggot, Brian. HOCKNEY. Italy: Chronicle Books, 1995.

This book contains artwork of posters that are very vibrant in color and large in size. Many of Hockney pieces in this book include a swimming pool and the element of water.


Clothier, Peter. HOCKNEY. Los Angeles: Abbeville Press, 1995.

Contemporary artist David Hockney is known for all types of his artwork. From his oil paintings to his photo collages, Hockney is known. Book contains all of the work Hockney does and goes into depth with the meanings of his work.


Hockney, David. 72 Drawings by David Hockney. New York: The Viking Press, 1971.

A medium of ink, pencil, and crayons are used in the pieces of this book. The book theme is the beauty of the male body and interior design. About half the pictures are colored in while the other half of the pictures are merely outlines. A great many of the pictures have a location in the title.

Hockney, David. Martha’s Vineyard and other places. New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1985.


The book mainly contains sketches of one of Hockney’s summer when he was in Martha’s Vineyard. Since the book took place in Martha’s Vineyard there are a lot of scenes that contain beaches. There are many different levels of the sketches; they range from very easy to difficult. Some sketches are simple, with just a few lines while others are deep and elaborate with intensity, depth and volume.


Lane, Jimmy. “David Hockney’s Photography.” 19 June 1998

The website talks about Hockney’s photography and how he can about the medium. Most of Hockney’s photo collages are massive and well recognized. The site also said that Hockney really started to play around with the camera in the year of 1982 up until the late 80’s.


Livingstone, Marco. David Hockney etchings and Lithographs. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1998.

The book contains Hockney’s illustrations. There is clearly an appreciation of the male body. About half the pieces are in color and Hockney’s illustrations are quite hard to comprehend. There is a model that Hockney uses constantly for his sketches by the name of Mo. Which I believe is or was a rather important person in Hockney’s life. The book contains a diversity of images, colors and simplicity. Surrealism is a major theme in the illustrations and Hockeny’s work is unique, diverse and eye catching.



Livingstone, Marco. Faces. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc, 1987.

The faces that Hockney drew/sketched are of his mother, father and many of his friends. There are many self portraits of him as well. All the faces carry a similar look to them; they all seem to hold some seriousness.


Lucie-Smith, Edward. “David Hockney.” 1999. Thames and Hudson. <http://www.artchive.com/artchive/H/hockney.html>

Site talks about Hockney’s growth as a pop artist. Though Hockney is considered one of leading pop artist, he does not consider himself a pop artist.


Melia, Paul. David Hockney You Make the Picture Paintings and Prints 1987-1995. Manchester: BMW (GB) Limited, 1996.

The book mainly contains David Hockney’s photo collages and how he creates the collages. The collages originally is a whole bunch of pictures shot mainly in one scene then developed and put together to make art.


Wolheim, Richard. “David Hockney.” Modern Painters Writers on Artists. Ed. Barbara Minton. New York: DK Publishing. 2001. 24-39

Writer Richard Wolheim is writing about artist David Hockney and his life as an artist. Wolheim writes about Hockney’s paintings and other firms of artwork.


David Hockney portraits. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. February 26, 2006- May 14, 2006.

The site contains a brief description from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston about Hockney’s life.

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