Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection

Elizabeth Peyton. Hockney at the RCA. (1997)

Pencil on notebook paper, 13 7/8 x 11" (35.2 x 27.9 cm). The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift. © 2022 Elizabeth Peyton

Narrator: This work by Elizabeth Peyton is called Hockney at the RCA. David Hockney is a Los Angeles-based artist who studied at the RCA or Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s.

Artist, Elizabeth Peyton: At the time, I'd been making a lot of pictures of David Hockney. I was very inspired by him. I think I saw this photo in his first autobiography and it was a photo of him in school. I was very taken by the photo and then I wanted to draw it. I think I like this image so much that I later made an etching of it, too. I'm really struck by how fluid the line is. I like the gesture, too, the way he's standing. You know, that's full of attitude.

I was pretty interested in a certain kind of person, who was androgynous, where it wasn't about being particularly male or female but they had a kind of individuality that was not to do with that. I'm drawn to make pictures of people who are creative.

I think I'm always looking for something to believe in, and the story of David Hockney and what he did is something I very much believe in. You know, what he was doing at that time in the '70s wasn't the most fashionable thing to be doing, making pictures of people, and to be making figurative artwork, and he just believed in it and did it. And I thought that was very inspiring. And I guess maybe I found a little of myself in that story, too. When I started making work, nobody wanted to see it. I was really laughed at. But I didn't care; it was really what I wanted to see, and what I needed. And I figured, you know, people always wanna see pictures of people; they're really the most interesting thing. And I think everything is contained in people; you know, time, history, love, everything that's important.

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