David Hockney studied at the Royal College of Art, where he belonged to a remarkable generation of students that included R.B. Kitaj, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips, Allen Jones and Patrick Caulfield. Hockney received the gold medal in the year he graduated, 1962.
Hockney’s student abstractions are a far cry from his early days at the Bradford School of Art, 1953-57. However, the reliance on life drawing impressed on him by his traditional schooling in Bradford, and kept up at the Royal College of Art (where life drawing was compulsory) finds some expression in his abstract paintings, where his strong sense of design underlies the whole composition. The sense of liberation Hockney attained in gestural abstraction and art-brut led his rebellious spirit soon to find a more sustained outlet after his first visit to New York.