Hamilton was born in London. During the 1950s he was an influential figure in the move away from Abstract Expressionism towards a more intellectual, conceptual type of work. His early preoccupation with consumer culture and the imagery of advertising makes him one of the forerunners of Pop Art. He was much indebted to Marcel Duchamp, introducing wit, irony and dislocation into his work, and avoiding a particular style. It could even be said that style was the subject of his work. He used photography, painting, installation and printmaking, often in combination, and always in a questioning, critical way.