David Hockney, British visual artist, is 86 years old today
David Hockney in the Sackler Wing at the Royal Academy of Arts, London
Photo by Andrew Matthews
David Hockney is 86 years old today.
An English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, Hockney lives in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, and Kensington, London.
He maintains two residences in California, where he lived on and off for over 30 years. One is in Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles, and he has an office and archives on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood.
At the Royal College of Art (RCA), Hockney was featured in the exhibition, Young Contemporaries, alongside Peter Blake, that announced the arrival of British pop art. He was associated with the movement, but his early works display expressionist elements, not dissimilar to some works by Francis Bacon.
When the RCA said it would not let him graduate in 1962, Hockney drew the sketch, The Diploma, in protest. He had refused to write an essay required for the final examination, saying he should be assessed solely on his artworks. Recognizing his talent and growing reputation, the RCA changed its regulations and awarded the diploma.
A visit to California, where he subsequently lived for many years, inspired him to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in the comparatively new acrylic medium rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colors.
The artist moved to Los Angeles in 1964, returned to London in 1968, and from 1973 to 1975 lived in Paris. He moved to Los Angeles in 1978, at first renting the canyon house he lived in and later bought the property and expanded it to include his studio. He also owned a 1,643-square-foot beach house at 21039 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, which he sold in 1999 for around $1.5 million.
Hockney is openly gay, and unlike Andy Warhol, whom he befriended, he actively explored the nature of gay love in his portraiture. Sometimes, as in, We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), named after a poem by Walt Whitman, the works refer to his love for men.
Already in 1963, he painted two men together in the painting Domestic Scene, Los Angeles, one showering while the other washes his back. In summer 1966, while teaching at UCLA, he met Peter Schlesinger, an art student who posed for paintings and drawings.
Between 1970 and 1986, he created photomontages, calling them joiners. He began this style of art by taking Polaroid photographs of one subject and arranging them into a grid layout. The subject moved while being photographed, so that the pieces show the movements of the subject from the camera's perspective.
In later works, Hockney changed the technique, moving the camera around the subject. Creation of the "joiners" occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses. He did not like these photographs because they looked somewhat distorted.
While working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles, he took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own.
On looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer moved through the room. He began to work more with photography after this discovery and stopped painting for a while to exclusively pursue this new technique. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its “one eyed” approach, he returned to painting.
In 1974, Hockney was the subject of Jack Hazan's film, A Bigger Splash, named after one of Hockney's most famous swimming pool paintings from 1967. Hockney was also the inspiration of artist Billy Pappas in the documentary film, Waiting for Hockney, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008.
In 2012, Hockney, worth an estimated $55.2 million, transferred paintings valued at $124.2 million to the David Hockney Foundation, and gave an additional $1.2 million in cash to help fund the foundation's operations.
The artist plans to give away the paintings, through the foundation, to galleries including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Tate in London.
Here, is Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway, a photographic collage from 1986.
David Hockney: A Remembrance
When I lived in Los Angeles in the 1980s, David Hockney was very active there. He was interested in all forms of technology — experimenting in those days with instant cameras, fax machines and early drawing software.
I had to contact Hockney over a project once and the entire exchange happened over fax machines. When Hockney did his exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the 1980s, he wanted everyone to have an original Hockney. So he installed a fax machine that spewed out his “original.”
Throughout his career, Hockney has constantly reinvented himself, often using the latest technology. Famous for his crisp, languid depictions of poolside California, he experimented with not only fax art, but photomontage and digital drawing on the computer application, Quantel Paintbox.
A few years ago, while watching the dawn tread across the North Sea and toward his Bridlington home, Hockney realized he could quickly catch the moment on his iPad. This led to him to begin using the iOS application, Brushes.
As he told Lawrence Weschler in The New York Review of Books, "in the old days, one never could [capture the light], because, of course, ordinarily it would be too dark to see the paints; or else, if you turned on a light so as to see them, you'd lose the subtle gathering tones of the coming sun.
“Brushes frees the artist from the constraints of time and supplies. The iPad's backlight lets you paint at any time of day, the app's color wheel provides every pigment, and its very nature renders set-up and clean-up obsolete.”
Hockney uses everything available to create his vision.
Jack White is 48 years old today.
A musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor, White is best known as the vocalist, guitarist and pianist of The White Stripes which disbanded February, 2011. He is also well-known for his work with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.
White's popular and critical success with The White Stripes enabled him to collaborate as a solo artist with other renowned musicians, such as Bob Dylan, Beck, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Alicia Keys, Electric Six, Insane Clown Posse and Loretta Lynn, whose 2004 album Van Lear Rose he produced and performed on.
In 2006, White became a founding member of the rock band, The Raconteurs. In 2009, he became a founding member and drummer of his third commercially successful group, The Dead Weather.
Of Polish, Scottish and Canadian descent, Whites birth name was John Anthony Gillis. He was born the youngest of ten children (six brothers, three sisters) in a lower middle-class neighborhood in Detroit and grew up in a Catholic family.
His father and mother worked for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as the Building Maintenance Superintendent and secretary in the Cardinal's office, respectively.
White eventually became an altar boy, which landed him an uncredited role in the 1987 movie, The Rosary Murders, filmed mainly at Holy Redeemer parish in southwest Detroit.
As a child, he was a fan of classical music. White began playing a drum at the age of six. He attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit.
As a teenager, White was already listening to the blues and 1960s rock that would influence him in The White Stripes. Son House and Blind Willie McTell were his favorite blues musicians.
White formed The White Stripes in 1997, along with Meg White. The band began its career as part of the Michigan garage rock underground music scene. A year later, The White Stripes were signed to Italy Records, a small and independent Detroit-based garage punk label.
The band released its self-titled debut album in 1999, and the next year the album was followed up by the cult classic, De Stijl. The album eventually peaked at #38 in Billboard's Independent Albums chart when the band had established their popularity.
White formed The Raconteurs in 2005 along with Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler. The origin of the band was the song “Steady, As She Goes,” which White wrote along with Benson. This inspired them to create a full band with the addition of Lawrence and Keeler.
The band came together in Detroit during 2005 and, for the remainder of the year, recorded when time allowed. The band's debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, was recorded at Benson's home in Detroit. The band set out on tour to support the album, including eight dates as the opening act for Bob Dylan.
Here, White performs in a full 90-minute show called “Voodoo Experience” in 2012
"This here ain't no protest song or anything like that, 'cause I don't write no protest songs."
That was how Bob Dylan introduced one of the most eloquent protest songs ever written when he first performed it publicly.
It was 1962, the spring of his first full year in New York City, and he was onstage at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village, talking about a song he claims to have written in just 10 minutes: "Blowin' In The Wind."
A few weeks later — 61 years ago today — Dylan walked into a studio and recorded the song that would make him a star. Dylan's recording of "Blowin' In The Wind" would first be released nearly a full year later, on his breakthrough album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. This was not the version of the song that most people would first hear, however.
That honor went to the cover version by Peter, Paul and Mary — a version that not only became a smash hit on the pop charts, but also transformed what Dylan would later call "just another song" into the unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement.
"Blowin' In The Wind" bore little or no resemblance to the highly topical, highly literal protest songs of the day, but that may have been precisely what made it so effective as a protest song.
A lyric like "How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?" lends itself perfectly to those seeking racial justice, just as "How many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand?" does to those seeking peace.
The moving, vaguely spiritual, clearly dissatisfied, yet ultimately ambiguous nature of "Blowin' In the Wind" made it the quintessential protest song of the 1960s. "A song that the times seemed to call forth," wrote critic Greil Marcus.
It also represented a significant breakthrough for Bob Dylan as a songwriter. From "Blowin' In The Wind" onward, Dylan's songs would reflect a far more personal and poetic approach to self-expression — an approach that would lead him away from songs like "The Times They Are a-Changin'" and toward songs like "Like A Rolling Stone."
And Dylan's development as a songwriter would, in turn, have a similar effect on The Beatles, whose own move from "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to "A Day In The Life" can be traced directly to their exposure to The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in the spring of 1964.
Here, Dylan performs “Blowin’ In The Wind” on live television in March, 1963
In 1958 — 65 years ago today — Johnny Cash signed with Columbia Records, where he would remain for the next 28 years releasing over 60 albums.
Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers discuss a recording session in a room in the Hotel Wolcott in New York City on September 30, 1958.
The group was gathered for a Lou Giordano recording session at the Beltone Studios inside the hotel at 4 West 31st Street in New York City.
Holly and Phil Everly co-produced the session. The two songs recorded were "Stay Close To Me" and "Don't Cha Know."
Photographer is unknown
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