David Hockney to be a freeman of town he calls home?
CIVIC leaders could make artist David Hockney a Freeman of Bridlington in recognition of what he has done for the town.
The town council is considering the move as a way of honouring the celebrated artist who has brought worldwide publicity to Bridlington.
Hockney's latest exhibition of paintings inspired by the East Riding countryside around the seaside town has been an outstanding success.
Bridlington is now the permanent home of Hockney, 74, who has been declared by art and cultural experts as Britain's greatest living artist.
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Calls for him to be made a freeman of the holiday resort come after he was awarded the prestigious Order Of Merit by the Queen.
Town mayor Councillor Cyril Marsburg said: "David Hockney is a credit to Bridlington and has brought worldwide publicity to the town.
"The attention his paintings have created all over the world have really put Bridlington and the Wolds landscape on the international map.
"We believe the suggestion Hockney should be honoured by becoming a Freeman of the town is an excellent one."
The world-renowned artist, who lives in Woldgate, near Bridlington, came to the forefront in the early 1960s as one of the leaders of the British pop art movement.
His new exhibition of work, called A Bigger Picture, opened to rave reviews at the Royal Academy Of Art in London last Saturday.
His fondness for the area around Bridlington stems from having visited the town to see his mother every Christmas for 30 years.
But he said it was only when he found a subject in the Wolds landscape that he decided to put down roots and stay.
In an earlier interview, he said: "As you get older, I suppose you're attracted again to your roots, but it was only when I thought I had found a subject that I decided I will stay a bit longer.
"It wasn't a plan, it just happened, and even when I began painting, I was still intending to go back to California, where I lived for 30 years."
Hockney has become so popular in his adopted town there is also a suggestion the new arts venue Gallery@Bridlington Spa should be renamed to include his name.
Councils can award the honorary freeman title to people of distinction or those who have, in the opinion, of the authority given eminent services to a town or city.