So, just who is the real David Hockney?
There’s a story Christopher Simon Sykes likes to tell about David Hockney. It was the early 1960s and, having just graduated from the Royal College of Art, he moved into a new flat where the bedroom also doubled as his studio. At the end of the small bed, which was squeezed into a corner, was a chest of drawers. “David painted a message rather carefully on the chest of drawers,” says Sykes, who secured unprecedented access to Hockney’s archive, notebooks and paintings to write a two-volume biography of the Bradford-born artist. “It said in large capital letters GET UP AND WORK IMMEDIATELY. As he said: ‘The first thing I saw every morning when I woke up was the sign, and not only did I read the sign but I remembered that I had wasted two hours painting it, so I jumped out of bed’.”