Written by David Hockney
David Hockney by David Hockney, 1967
When I got to Los Angeles I didn’t know a soul.
People in New York said you’re mad to go there if you don’t know anybody and you can’t drive. They said at least go to San Francisco if you want to go West. And I said no, no, it’s Los Angeles I want to go to. So it was arranged; I was going to have an exhibition in New York, at Charles Alan’s Gallery, and I said I’d painted the pictures in California. Charles said it’s crazy, you know you won’t even be able to leave the airport if you can’t drive; it’s madness. So he phoned up this guy who was a sculptor there, who showed in his gallery, called Oliver Andrews. He very kindly came to meet me at the airport and drove me to a motel in Santa Monica and just dropped me. He gave me his phone number. I got into the motel, very thrilled; really, really thrilled, more than in New York the first time. I was so excited. I think it was partly a sexual fascination and attraction. I arrived in the evening. Of course I’d not transport but the motel was right by the bottom of Santa Monica canyon, just where Christopher Isherwood lives. I didn’t know him then and although I had his address I didn’t know it was near there. I checked into this motel and walked on the beach and I was looking for the town; I couldn’t see it. And I saw some lights and I thought, that must be it. I walked two miles, and when I got there all it was was a big gas station, so brightly lit I’d though it was the city.
© 1976 David Hockney; London: Thames & Hudson; David Hockney Studio