More about Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio


David Hockney has an uncanny ability to make even the most laid back California beach bum feel as though they haven’t yes fully realized the simplistic splendors of their golden state.

Hailing from across the pond in grey gloomy England, Hockney has embraced the California lifestyle like no other. Like the best Californian, Hockney has filled his life with scantily dressed people, a never-ending supply of swimming pools, and a medical marijuana card that he openly tells everyone about.

Hockey affectionately dubbed Los Angeles the “promise land," and this lifelong flirtation with the City of Stars has fueled the best of his work. This painting depicts Hockney’s daily commute from his home in the Hollywood Hills up on Mulholland Drive to his studio on Santa Monica Boulevard. While most Angelenos loathe their daily commute (since it probably takes them an hour and a half to go eleven miles), Hockney’s painting feels like a love letter to all that Los Angeles stands for: golden sunshine, towering mountains, and a slavish commitment to driving.

It is easy to understand why Hockney adores this Los Angeles scene so much. Anyone who has taken a jaunt up to Mulholland Drive knows the vast views that await them. From the top of the Santa Monica Mountains, one can truly understand the behemoth that is Los Angeles, as it extends for as far as the eye can see. I would like to think that while Hockney absorbed the views on his daily commute, he listened to Free Fallin' by Tom Petty - a musical tribute to Mulholland Drive.

David Hockney is cooler than you. I'm sorry, but it is just a fact. Hockney pretty much invented bohemia. He was openly gay in the 1960s during a time when it was culturally taboo to come out of the closet, he still smokes Turkish cigarettes and sips fine whiskey, and he even partied with Andy Warhol. To Hockney though, bohemia isn't really about dabbling in exotic drugs and rocking thick-framed circular glasses like a boss, it's about tolerance - something he fears our culture is veering away from.

Some love Hockney for his warm palette or prolific portfolio, but for me, it the sense of the excessive good life that emanates from paintings like this one that makes me want to leave my curt judgmental disposition at the door. Maybe life is okay. Or perhaps I need to look into getting one of those medical marijuana cards Hockey has. If that's the key to a lifetime filled with sunshine and salacious dudes, I’m more than ready to jump on that train. Choo choo!