When you think of David Hockney an image of him may spring to mind fairly easily. This image may include his bright blonde hair, round thick rimmed spectacles, a bold clash of colours, or maybe a cardigan and a pair of brightly mismatched socks. Whichever iconic fashion choices spring to mind I bet you see them all worn with a such a casual ease that looks so natural on him.
So strong and positively received are David Hockney’s fashion choices that he has been a significant influence to the world of design. Sir Paul Smith and Christopher Bailey have both designed collections around Hockney’s strong sense of style. When the David Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in Bradford first opened in 2017 we were delighted to have some of the outfits that Christopher Bailey designed for Burberry on display within the gallery. These outfits included a bright red trench coat paired with a white and green striped rugby shirt and a pair of canary yellow jeans, shown alongside a cerulean silk artist jacket that was paired with a turquoise shirt, red tie, forest green linen trousers and red shoes.
Meanwhile Yves Saint Laurent, Michael Kors, Osman and Kym Ellery have all been influenced by the bright saturated colours that cross over from Hockney’s wardrobe into the colour palette of his artworks. Bill Gaytten even named his catwalk collection Big Splash in homage to Hockney’s 1967 painting A Bigger Splash.
With the David Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery having a unique collection of early works by the artist hung alongside more contemporary pieces we are unique in showing the development of his colour palette which features both in his fashion choices and his artworks.
An early self-portrait collage in the collections of Bradford Museums and Galleries shows a young David Hockney, aged 16 years, who was still living in Bradford. You can definitely tell that it depicts Hockney, but this early portrait was created before he developed some of the distinctive features that we associate with the artist today. Here he has a mop of dark brown hair and a pair of indistinctive NHS glasses. However, even at this early age you can see that he has already started to add the bold pops of colour to his wardrobe with the bright blue coat, red scarf and yellow necktie.
The rest of David Hockney’s iconic style developed outside of Bradford. Whilst in America Hockney and a friend saw a Clariol television advert that declared that Blondes have more fun. After they saw this advert they went straight out to buy hair dye, and for Hockney the style stuck. Then in 1964 Hockney saw a pair of horn-rimmed glasses in an optician in Iowa City, and in a desire to appear more professional his first pair of round spectacles were purchased. This fashion choice has become such a recognisable feature of Hockney that we even used it as the branding for our David Hockney Gallery.
This summer we have seen a combination of Hockney’s artworks and his own fashion style become inspiration for another designer. Tracey Samuel, designer and founder of the brand Bonnie Mob created her 2021 summer collection titled Pool Party around the bright Californian colours and motifs of Hockney’s works. This children’s line is full of fun characters including Hockney’s dachshund dogs peeking their heads out of pockets, happy little cactus plants, his infamous swimming pools and some bananas mirroring the bright yellow of Hockney’s palette which have been Hocknified by giving them each a pair of iconic round spectacles to wear!
Tracey has been kind enough to gift us some of these pieces to display in the David Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall where they mirror many of the works around them. Tracey says:
For me, Hockney is a magician with colour. His combination of creativity, eccentricity and ability to adapt to the next new thing makes him a true genius and an amazing role model for our future little artists and makers. For Spring Summer ’21. We’ve immersed ourselves in all things David Hockney. You’ll find gentle nods to Hockney’s style and his use of colour. From the iconic Californian pool paintings to the bright fun iPad drawings, the polaroid photo collages, his adored dachshund dogs, his signature round specs and of course, his charming fashion sense and iconic cardigans!
On your next visit to Cartwright Hall Art Gallery have a look at this new display and see which of the motifs you can see in the works currently on display.
Check out our website for Cartwright Hall Art Galleries current opening times www.bradfordmuseums.org
A few weeks ago, one of our Assistant Curators of Collections Dr Lauren Padgett was auditing a box of souvenirs when she fortuitously came across two souvenir books relating to the 1931 Bradford Historical Pageant. As it’s the 90th anniversary of it taking place this month, on the 13th July, Lauren has written a blog to tell us more about it.
Historical pageants were staged in towns and cities up and down the country, mostly in the first half of the twentieth century. At these pageants, historical scenes relating to that particular place were re-enacted. It was a chance to rally and revel in civic pride. 1931 was an odd time for Bradford to be hosting an historical pageant. In the inter-war years, Bradford was feeling the global financial crisis; textile mills around the district were going bankrupt and closing causing unemployment and hardship. This may well have been one of factors that influenced the decision and impetus to host a pageant. It was hoped that the pageant would attract tourism, showcase what Bradford had to offer and give Bradford a much-needed boost, economically and in terms of morale.
Bradford had the famed Frank Lascelles, ‘the pageant master’, as organising director. Pupils at Bradford College of Art and Crafts produced the scenery and back-drops for the scenes. According to research by Ayako Yoshino, Bradford’s pageant was quite technologically advanced, being ‘one of the first major pageants to use electricity extensively. Telephone lines were set up to carry messages more quickly to the large number of participants and microphones were used to make the outdoor drama easier to hear. . . twenty large electric floodlights extended the finale of the pageant into the evening.’
Just a few days before the pageant was due to start, it was announced by the Woolcombing Employer’s Federation that there would be a wage reduction affecting 8,000 workers. In response to this, workers decided to go on strike from the 13th July, the day the pageant was opening. Organisers and the Mayor of Bradford were worried that this would overshadow the pageant and hoped a settlement could be negotiated to avoid strike action. As it happened, Bradford workers did not strike, but Shipley workers did. The pageant ran for one week, from 13 to 22 July, hosted in Peel Park. The opening performance was inaugurated by H.R.H. Prince George and his speech can be viewed in the British Pathé film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB7lTobCVNs . As we have come to expect of a British summer, it was marred with rain on the first day which persisted most of the week. The pageant performance was split into episodes made up of several scenes covering different periods of Bradford’s history in chronological order. While the episodes were performed in Peel Park, some pageant activity took place in other spaces around Bradford, including the grounds of our Bolling Hall Museum – the postcards below show photographs of Pageant Queen outside Bolling Hall. Performers wore costumes made from locally made fabrics – like live manikins, they showcased and advertised Bradford’s textile industry. It was thought that 30,000 people participated with pageant and a healthy profit was donated to local hospitals.
In Bradford Museums and Galleries’ collection we have some objects relating to the pageant: souvenir badges, books and postcards. The postcards, some showing photographs of the performances and others reflecting historical people who made an appearance in the episodes, give an illustrated insight into which aspects of Bradford’s history were reenacted.
Episode 1 ‘The Coming of the Romans’ depicts the fighting between the Brigantes tribe (which occupied Bradford) and the invading Romans – a snippet of this can be seen in the British Pathé film on Youtube. Episode 2 ‘Paulinus in Bradford Dale’ represents the conversion of Anglo-Saxons to Christianity in seventh-century Bradford. Episode 3 ‘Bradford in Norman Times’ features individuals who were bestowed land and property in Bradford (including Bolling Hall) by William the Conqueror, such as the de Lacey family. It also includes Robin Hood, who ‘is supposed to have been associated with many exploits in this part of Yorkshire, and to be buried at Kirklees’, and the legend of the Bradford Boar. Episode 4 ‘Bradford in Plantagenet Times’ recounts the sacking of the North, including Bradford, by the Scots. Episode 5 ‘Bradford in Stuart Times’ covers the English Civil War, focussing on the Battle of Adwalton Moor, the Second Siege of Bradford and Bolling Hall’s ‘Pity Poor Bradford’ ghost. Episode 6, the final episode, about ‘Bradford of the Industrial Revolution’ acknowledges the opening of Bradford’s Piece Hall, showcases Bradford’s tradition of the Bishop Blaise Procession on St Blaise’s Day, covers child labour in mills and the local Luddite activity and the local election of 1832.
Interestingly, other cities and towns opted to stage sanitised or whimsical versions of their history, whereas Bradford dared to touch on the subjects of the divisive English Civil War, controversial child labour and corrupt politicians and politics.
90 years on from this, Bradford is again positioning itself to showcase what the Bradford District has to offer as it enters the competition to host City of Culture in 2025.
For more information about the ‘The Bradford Pageant of 1931’, please read Ayako Yoshino’s article on the Historical Pageant’s website: https://historicalpageants.ac.uk/featured-pageants/bradford-pageant-1931/
Aamta, one of our amazing Our Street Gallery Volunteers, is an arts graduate and has been doing all the amazing social media on this project over the last few months.
In this blog, she tells us all about her creative work, and her journey to becoming a volunteer. Aamta is now on maternity leave but hopes to rejoin us with our first volunteer baby!
My name is Aamta Tul Waheed, I am British Muslim female visual artist — based in West Yorkshire, Bradford. I work with a variety of media, often explored through relational & concept art. My practice involves exploring the stigma surrounding Muslim women within the South Asian community. I explore topics such a shame, honour and culture and effects of this on Muslim women. My practice mirrors my experiences as a British Muslim woman. Throughout my work I delve deeper into the deep-rooted issues within my community such as gendered stereotypes, the female
body, cultural tensions, and the perception’s and expectations of the Muslim women.
Since leaving my Top Up degree in July 2018, myself and my friend launched Kaur & Baleem Creatives that specialised in creative events. We have successfully organised and executed a spoken word, art and music exhibition/showcase called ‘All of the World is a Stage’ at Left Bank Leeds March 29th, 2019, and a book launch event for ‘Coffee, a Notebook and Self Love’. We also organised exhibits, workshops, artist talks and spoken word throughout August 2019 at the Yorkshire Hub sponsored by Leeds City College.
We are both South Asian women, which gave us another opportunity to help open the doors for more ethnic minorities to feel confident in sharing their passion for
their crafts. Through our events we aimed to help expose artists, writers and musicians in Yorkshire and the North of England, and to engage new audiences and demographics. Our aim was to bring exposure and create a platform for artists that belong within ethnic minority and create an equal and diverse platform.
Since COVID-19 my business was put to a halt, and unfortunately could not continue. I felt depressed and upset by this as I felt as a recent graduate I was on a role! And suddenly I did not know what to do and had to start all over again. I then applied to volunteer through Bradford Museums and Galleries and joined the Our Street Gallery social media team.
Joining Our Street Gallery exposed me to how many opportunities Bradford has for the arts and culture, compared to when I was a student through 2011-2018. Our Street Gallery gave me the motivation and inspiration to get my fingers in all the pies once again and helped me see how much I can contribute to Bradford’s art and culture. I will be shortly going on maternity leave and being a volunteer helped distracted me from all my pregnancy aches and pains.
Whilst on maternity leave, I plan on keeping in touch with Bradford Museums and Galleries with the possibilities for ‘Mummy and Baby workshops’ in the gallery; going on power walks through Lister Park, holding baby sensory workshops and mummy and baby coffee mornings.
Niamh has been volunteering on the Our Street Gallery project.
Whilst doing some social media for the project, Niamh is also assisting with installations of the huge billboard banners and posters which can be seen now around the district, including Lister Park, outside Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. These are her thoughts on the challenges of graduating and beginning her career during lockdown.
This time last year seems like life a lifetime ago. I was living at Uni, had just handed in my dissertation and was prepping for my degree show, all whilst turning my nose up at the prospect of a national lockdown.
If I’m being honest, graduating in such a difficult time and being forced to move back up north left me, like so many, feeling very down, isolated and displaced.
My friends and family have been utterly amazing in supporting me throughout, but it didn’t solve the issue of having little to no work, or purpose. When I left Wakefield I had no interest in returning- I thought it was redundant in providing creative opportunities.
Fast-forward past an email graduation, a lot of realisations, learning, connecting, volunteering and engaging with my local arts community, as well as many, many tiers (and tears) later, I’m finally getting paid work. It feels amazing to finally be beginning my career, and to be able to really start looking forward.
Getting to my point, as cheesy as it is, if you keep going, you will get there. Persistence, a little leaning on those around me, and a lot of hard work has done me well.