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Steal His Style: David Hockney

David Hockney was born in 1937 and is perhaps the most famous stage designer, printmaker, photographer, and painter of the 20th century. He's a living legend, a British institution, and one of the most likeable Yorkshiremen you'll ever have the privilege to meet. He isn't just an influential artist, though. He's a style icon. For the past fifty years, he's been made a significant impact on what the modern man wears.

Who is David Hockney?

David Hockney was born in Bradford, England, the fourth child of five children. He started his education at Wellington Primary School, then continued on the Bradford Grammar School after receiving a scholarship. He liked the art program so much during school that he decided to attend the Bradford College of Art.

He also attended London's Royal College of Art, where he was features alongside Peter Blake in an exhibition called Young Contemporaries. The exhibition was used to announce that Pop art had arrived. His artwork in this early period displayed expressionist elements, but he was also associated with the Pop art movement.

 

When it came time to graduate from the RCA, he was required to write an essay for his final exam. He refused to do so, telling his professors that his writing shouldn't matter, but that his art should be all that he was judged by. Because the RCA saw how much of a reputation he was gaining and how much talent he had, regulations were changed and Hockney was able to graduate.

David Hockney moved to Los Angeles, California in 1964, where he was inspired to paint a series of swimming pool painting using acrylics, which were relatively new then. In 1968, he moved back to London, but returned again to Los Angeles in 1978. At first he rented his home, but he later bought the canyon house, which he expanded and began using as an art studio. A house in Malibu was also owned by him, which he sold in 1999.

 

The artist is openly homosexual, and created a series of paintings between 1960 and 1961 about homesexual love. Many of these paintings contain fragments of poems, which make art lovers look just a little bit deeper at each painting to see what is beyond the exterior. These fragments also made it easier for his paintings to be identified as really his.

In the 1980's, Hockney found a new medium: photographs. He began making photo collages with Polaroid cameras. This let him see the world in a whole new light. He took a series of self-portraits, granting his followers a unique look into his personal life.

As technology began to become more and more advanced, Hockney didn't shy away from using it. He would make reproductions of his paintings with colour laser printers in the 1990's and send drawings he created to his friends via fax machines. He was thrilled with the new ability to share his art, because he knew the produced images didn't have any financial value. Those who saw them and admired them did so only because they were works of art.

Style Icon David Hockney

Hockney has a gift, and not just for his art. He has a gift when it comes to men's clothing. No suit is boring once Hockney gets his hands on it. Are you ready to update your wardrobe and add a bit of more to your look? The lessons we learn from this influential artist may just be exactly what you need.

Colour

There isn't an artist alive who captures colour the same way this one does. Colour is one of Hockney's weapons of choice when it comes to style. Instead of playing with colour like you or I would, however, this artist likes to mix tones cleverly to create ensembles that truly capture your attention and leave you wanting to try that trick yourself.

How does he do it? By mixing together bright tones and gentle pastels. You can do this as well, whether you're wearing casual or business attire. For instance, pastel blue shirts under your men's suits will easily act as a perfect background for bold canary-yellow ties. A soft yellow shirt against a bright blue v-neck and a tweed jacket can provide you with a stylish, yet casual look you hadn't thought of before.

Stripes and Polka Dots

Rule: When wearing a shirt and tie, if one is patterned, the other shouldn't be.

Like many artists, Hockney isn't one to follow the rules- even in regards to men's fashion. If you consider yourself a rule breaker, you might want to try Hockney's approach- combining stripes and polka dots in the same outfit.

Be cautious if you try this with your suits, ties, shirts, and tweed jackets, however, because it can lead to disastrous results if you aren't careful. To get around this rule, the best advice is to be subtle. If you're wearing a tie with large, 'notice me' stripes, the polka dot pattern on your shirt should be very subtle. It shouldn't compete with the tie, but complement. For the best results, choose patterns of the same colour.

Don't be Afraid

What is the one thing you can learn from David Hockney? Don't be afraid. He's not the type of man who is scared to try something new. When he puts together an outfit for the day, it isn't something he's worn a million times over. He's always striving to create a new look, even when that look may conflict with the rules set forth by the kings of fashion. He's a king himself, what should he care?

If you want to be like David Hockney, take a page from his book. Don't be scared to try something new, to experiment with colour, and to combine patterns when everyone else says its wrong. Don't be afraid to show your passion for style to the world, even if it isn't what they might consider fashionable. Dare to be brave. Dare to be open. Dare to make your own decisions. You might just end up wearing a men's suit that inspires others to be just like you.

By Brook Taverner 8 June 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments