Is Pop Art a Real Kind of Art?

In the mid-1950s in the US and UK, an art movement began which was inspired by consumerist culture. This includes looks and styles from comic books, Hollywood films, and advertising. Pop artists made use of popular culture to create the art now called, “Pop Art.” 

This movement was considered significant because it represented a shift in artists’ source material. Unlike in the past where artists mostly draw inspiration from nature and religion, pop art involves seeking ideas from the mundane aspects of everyday life. This movement wants to connect fine art to ordinary people. So, images that are shown in TV, movies, or even commercials were prevalent in pop artworks. 

In simple terms, this movement aims to relate to common people. It establishes the fact that art is not elitist. Art is everywhere, and it can be found even on our day-to-day things. 

What are the Characteristics of Pop Art?

Pop art image Donald Trump

Pop art is visually attractive. It uses bright and bold colors such as red, yellow, and blue. The most prominent technique used is Ben-day dots – a printing technique in which dots are used to render effects. Other techniques include color blocking and the use of black outlines. 

During this movement, silkscreen painting also became a popular choice. The overall paintwork became sharper and lines were more visible. The most common themes were food, household items, and even objects like toilets. Logos, brand names, and product names were also recurring objects. 

5 of the Most Famous Pop Artists 

Andy Warhol

American Artist Andy Warhol was a leading figure in this visual art movement. He explored relationship between artistic expression and celebrity culture and advertisement in 1960s. He once said, “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when people in it do.” 

His most famous works are Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, and a painting of the Campbell’s Soup. The latter initially caused an offense to the philosophy of abstract expression which was then dominant in the United States.  

Roy Lichtenstein 

        Along with Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein was also known as one of the first American artists who adopted pop art. His works are famous for its humorous manner, favoring the comic strip as his main inspiration. He described this kind of art as an industrial painting rather than the usual American painting. 

            “Drowning Girl” was considered to be Lichtenstein’s cornerstone work. The printing method and the use of speech balloon highly suggest it’s inspired by a comic book page. This art has appealed to many as the heroine seems to be a victim of an unhappy relationship. 

Richard Hamilton 

Richard Hamilton was the British artist who founded the pop art movement. He introduced the idea that an artist is an active consumer. The prevailing view then was that art should be separate from commerce. It was Hamilton who treated Pop Art as a way of life, giving other artists permission to consider all visual sources, even those generated by the commercial sector. 

His most popular work and also among the earliest works of pop art is “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” It was a collage consisting of images taken mainly from American magazines. 

Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi 

Eduardo Paolozzi was a Scottish sculptor and artist who was one of the pioneers of pop art. Although his work was mostly sculpture, he was also a printmaker whose collage-based silkscreened images were considered as a significant characteristic of pop art.

In fact, his produced rudimentary collages from American magazines which were inspired by Dada photomontage, are now regarded as early examples of pop art. For the rest of his career, the “collage style was evident in his methods, both as a sculptor and printmaker.

David Hockney 

Another prominent figure of the Pop Art movement is British artist, David Hockney. In his works, he focuses on personal subject matters: scenes from his own life and of his friends. Some of his paintings also explore homosexuality as Hockney was openly gay. 

His most iconic work is his 1967 painting, “A Bigger Splash.”  It was based on a photo he saw in a book while the background was taken from one of his drawings. 

pop art bubble thought

In general, pop art has made a huge impact on artists, even to this day. While it challenges the imagery of traditional art, it has paved the way for a different kind of art. Since then, it was widely interpreted to bridge the gap between “high” art and “low” culture. It also presented opportunities for others to explore creativity in different mediums such as advertising, print design, and even digital design. Is it really an art? You decide! 

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