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Ed Sheeran is David Hockney’s Latest Muse

Though Sheeran’s homage to Taylor Swift did make the cut.


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A year and a half after Ed Sheeran received the “absolute honor” of eating pie and chatting about his native Yorkshire with “one of [his] favorite artists of all time,” David Hockney has bestowed another gift upon the singer, who’s previously described Hockney as the first introduction to art that he “really connected to” as a child. Earlier this week, Sheeran shared that Hockney had created a portrait of him out of charcoal and crayon, all four-by-three feet of which is now on display in the artist’s 21st solo exhibition at the L.A. Louver in Venice, California.

Apparently, Hockney is quite the fan of the fellow Yorkshirer (or at least those who organized the exhibition are). Not only did Sheeran make the cut, but he did so alongside some of Hockney’s esteemed colleagues: the writer, curator, and director of the David Hockney Foundation, Charlie Scheips, and Hockney’s own technology assistant, Jonathan Wilkinson, who’s presumably the one that maintains Hockney’s collection of iPads.

This latest honor comes just over a year after Prince Charles awarded Sheeran—or, we should say, Ed Sheeran MBE—with the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire (though only after asking him if he “was still selling lots of records”). And that’s not all: Michael Bublé’s recently proclaimed Sheeran to be his dream duet partner, describing him as “a beautiful guy,” and his single “Shape of You” was announced to have tied for the longest tenure in the 260-year history of Hot 100’s Top 10.

Altogether, there’s no doubt that those distinctions have eased Sheeran’s recovery from the near death experience he suffered when Princess Beatrice accidentally slashed his face with a sword, shortly after he “got hammered and cracked Justin Bieber in the face with a golf club.” (Not to mention a boost of confidence following the widespread criticism of his cameo on Game of Thrones, which led him to delete his Twitter account, just in time before he embarks on the 51 dates of his upcoming world tour.)

Hockney, who recently became the world’s most expensive living artist may be in his eighties, but he clearly isn’t slowing down any time soon. In addition to Sheeran’s flaming red hair and bulky frames, he also managed to perfectly capture the singer’s many tattoos. And by “perfectly,” we mean by forgoing depicting the enormous illustration of a lion that covers Sheeran’s chest and keeping the motifs abstract. Even Hockney, it seems, didn’t want to besmirch one of his canvaess with the likeness of Puss in Boots, Heinz ketchup label, disembodied Lego head, and many more of the oddities that adorn Sheeran’s forearms. (Though the singer’s homage to Taylor Swift’s 2012 album Red did make the cut.)

Then again, Sheeran isn’t the only one to get special treatment from Hockney as of late. In celebration of his 80th birthday, Hockney created just over 80 portraits of his friends and family for the show, which perplexingly enough, includes one of Bruno Mars.

Related: Lady Gaga Would Like You to Leave Ed Sheeran Alone, Please

David Hockney, Who’s Now 80, Has Always Been a Style Icon

David Hockney on the set of Ubu Roi‘ at the Royal Court Theatre, London, 1966.

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David Hockney in a studio with his work, ca. 1967.

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David Hockney with one of his beloved dachshunds, date unknown.

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David Hockney, 1969.

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David Hockney, date unknown.

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David Hockney, 1972.

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David Hockney in the set of The Rake’s Progress, which he designed for the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, 1975.

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David Hockney in front of one of his paintings in his studio, 1980.

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David Hockney in an oversized flower planter, 1980.

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David Hockney in Los Angeles, 1980s.

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David Hockney painting, 1985.

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David Hockney at his exhibition preview at Emmerich Gallery in New York, ca. 1986.

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David Hockney in Los Angeles, 1987.

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David Hockney with one of his beloved dachschunds in Los Angeles, 1988.

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David Hockney at a Christie’s reception for Billy Wilder’s art collection in the Beverly Hills Hotel, 1989.

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David Hockney with his dogs on the terrace of his beach house in Malibu, 1991.

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David Hockney at the exhibition “Flowers and Faces” in London, 1997.

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David Hockney in front of a giant poster at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, 2016.

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David Hockney at a private viewing of his retrospective at the Tate Britain in London, February 2017.

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