More about 3. The Start of the Spending Spree and the Door Opening for a Blonde


Hair dye brand Lady Clairol has played a huge role in Hockney's life.

Recently arrived in New York, the young artist was watching TV with two buddies and the Lady Clairol ad came on: "Is it true blondes have more fun?"  It flipped a switch and Hockney on the spot convinced everyone, including himself, to get a dye job.

He's been blonde and having more fun since that fateful day in 1961. 

Hockney took his windfall from selling his etchings in NY, all of $200, and got himself a proper little flat, and then went out on the town. He bought a new suit and had himself a full-on bohemian moment, exploring Harlem and the Bowery, cruising gay bars, joining an anti-nuke march in the Village, and working almost not at all. 

All that glorious New York openness and energy.

Of all the things Hockney loved about NY, he really loved the vegetarian restaurants. He's a life-long vegetarian. Eating any kind of meat and fish, verbotten.  "I haven't visited the Empire State Buliding yet," he wrote to a friend," but I wouldn't be surprised if the whole of that wasn't one big Veg restaurant."