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Perhaps the most popular and versatile British artist of the 20th century, David Hockney made apparent his facility as a draughtsman while studying at Bradford School of Art between 1953 and 1957. A painter, printmaker, photographer, and stage designer, Hockney produced portraits and observations of his surroundings under the influence of the Euston Road School and of Stanley Spencer. Upon beginning a postgraduate course at the Royal College of Art in London, he turned to drawing from life in two elaborate studies of a skeleton.
Hockney sought ways of reintegrating a personal subject-matter into his art while remaining faithful to his modernism. He copied fragments of poems on to his paintings, encouraging a close scrutiny of the surface and creating a specific identity for the painted marks through the alliance of word and image. His subject-matter, always audacious, was a sophisticated yet impetuous mixture of elevated emotion, with crudely drawn figures reminiscent of a child's art with scrawled graffiti-like appearances and rough textural handling of paint.
His depiction of homosexual love in much of his work was a sensual and uninhibited understanding of a fantasy he searched for when he became artistically active in Los Angeles. Hockney's popularity can be attributed not simply to his visual wit, honesty, and panache, but his appeal to our own escapist instincts.
Hockney's personality and sense of humor enabled him to transcend his influences. His development as an artist was a continuation of his student work, which has been regarded by critics as a fragment of the Pop Art movement.
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