Whilst David Hockney's work is often associated with the development of British Pop art in the 1960s, he is considered one of the most versatile and broadly influential British artists of the 20th century. Hockney studied at the Royal College of Art in London, where he was awarded the gold medal for his year in 1962, despite having refused to write the essay component of his final examination (Hockney asserted that he should be judged on his work alone).
After graduating, Hockney visited Los Angeles and was inspired to paint suburban swimming pools, which he did using acrylic paint, rather than oil, for the first time. These paintings were based on photographic snapshots, and many of the paintings leave the original photographs’ white borders surrounding their central image, simultaneously allowing for a realistic representation of the world while also maintaining a decidedly modernist sensibility. Throughout the following decades, after relocating to Los Angeles in 1963, Hockney allowed his naturalistic style to outweigh his early concern with cultivating a modernist aesthetic.