Hockney was born in Bradford, Yorkshire 9 July 1937. He went to Bradford Grammar School, Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.
While still a student at the Royal College of Art, Hockney was featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries, alongside Peter Blake, that announced the arrival of British Pop Art. He became associated with the movement, but his early works also display expressionist elements, not dissimilar to certain works by Francis Bacon.
From 1963 Hockney was represented by the influential art dealer John Kasmin. In the same year he visited New York, making contact with Andy Warhol. A later visit to California, where he lived for many years, inspired him to make a series of paintings of swimming pools using the comparatively new Acrylic medium and rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colours.
In 1967, his painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick's Pool, won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He also made prints, portraits of friends, and stage designs for the Royal Court Theatre, Glyndebourne, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Hockney is currently based in London and Bridlington, Yorkshire, where he has been painting the Yorkshire landscapes for the past few years.