「儘管我不介意別人這樣看我，我實際上是一個勞動者; 藝術家可以接納享樂主義，卻不能當一個享樂主義者。」— 大衛·霍克尼 “I was never much of a party boy. I didn’t mind being seen that way, but I am actually a worker. An artist can approve of hedonism, but he can’t be a hedonist himself.” - David Hockney
David Hockney was a gifted British painter that upheld diligence and believed in hard work. From his early days at the Bradford School of Art and later, the Royal College of Art, the young Hockney realised that the key to being successful is drill, master and repeat. At the age of 16, the artist was able to discipline himself or perhaps, simply flow with his passion for art, and stick to a nine-to-nine schedule at life drawing classes. Instead of falling into the temptations of partying and having fun, the artist could not help but work. The hours dedicated to painting paved the way of Hockney being a celebrated artist, influential to the pop art movement in the 1960s and was honoured one of Britain’s most influential artists of the 20th century.
「當我抵達聖伯納丁諾，映入眼簾的盡是充滿加州風情的游泳池、房子、陽光，那時我比到訪世界任何一個地方還要興奮……」 “As I flew over San Bernardino and looking down and saw the swimming pools and the houses and everything and the sun, I was more thrilled than I’ve ever been arriving at any other city…”
從皇家藝術學院畢業後，霍克尼穿梭歐、美兩洲旅遊，卻意外地啟發了他奠定個人畫風。在英國土生土長的霍克尼習慣了家鄉陰沈的天氣；相反地，美國加州的大晴天給人烙下深刻的印象，因此當地的房子普遍設有私人泳池，是英國鮮有的設計。霍克尼很快就被吸引 — 是那晴朗的天氣，在太陽底下自由暢泳的舒坦，於無事的下午慵懶戲水的愜意；更是看到陽光和池水的交錯，洛杉磯的生活，這些種種都編織著霍克尼藝術作品的標誌。
Upon graduating from the Royal College, Hockney made intermittent trips to Europe and America, which unexpectedly provided him with the inspiration to establish his personal painting style. Born and raised in Britain, Hockney was used to harsh weather conditions. Contrasting to that, Los Angeles was on the opposite end, making it common case for houses to have pools. Hockney was lured by the sunny weather, the liberating idea of swimming under the sun’s kiss, the leisure of swimming at private pools on sunny afternoons, interaction between the sun and the water, and the overall lifestyle at Los Angeles, which composited to the signature theme among Hockney’s works.
Initial paintings of Hockney based heavily on the people and daily objects surrounding him. Portraits of his father, paintings of trees, streets, houses…most subjects were common acquaintances that suggest the roots of the artist. The artist majorly made use of oil paint to create abstract works; stylistically, inevitably forming thick layers of paint on the works.
霍克尼聞名的藝術特色是從他突破自身舊有風格而建立的。自一九六零年代，霍克尼轉用塑膠彩而少用油彩，再加上到異地旅遊所受到的感官衝擊，霍克尼大受啟發。他慢慢開始融合抽象表現主義 — 提倡謹慎用色代替過於抽象隨意；以及形式主義 — 強調物質本體而非其意義。異於油彩的是塑膠彩解決了前者顏料凝固堆疊的問題，為霍克尼的作品添上清新的氣象。
The beginning of Hockney’s established style, however, started as he broke through from his older works. The artist turned to acrylic paint in the 1960s, on top of receiving impelling inspirations of the foreign lands. Hockney’s works then infused Abstract Expressionism, proposing a more calculated use of colours; and Formalism which emphasizes more on the pure form of art. Different from oil paint, acrylic paints removed the thick layers of paint on artworks, giving a refreshed visual aesthetic in Hockney’s pieces.
Among the many paintings of Hockney’s, it is not rare to find male figures, naked or clothed, as the subject matters. Hockney was open about the thought process of his painting Peter getting Out of Nick’s Pool as much as he was about his sexual orientation. The artist shared that the painting was inspired by a polaroid photograph he took of his then lover Peter getting out of the pool naked. Other than that, Hockney often used his paintings to portray naked men in the shower or near the pool, as a medium to express his idea of love, beauty and freedom. More importantly, the paintings provided imageries of the ‘white gay male experience’ in the 70s Los Angeles, represented and recorded the community at that era.
Though working up to be a successful and renowned artist, Hockney kept evolving and innovating in his artworks. From oil to acrylic, Formalist to Abstract Expressionism, to forming his own personal distinctive style, Hockney explored technology-driven productions in recent decades. A true talent who could create masterpieces through the tabs of fingers. Check out more of his creations to be enthralled by the vivid, vibrant and cheerful artistic world!
大衛·霍克尼，以約克郡家窗外轉換的四季景色為題的數碼繪圖 (2010)。 David Hockney, digital painting of the changing seasons outside the window of his Yorkshire home (2010).
Text by Venus Ng
Cover illustration by Alan Cheung