Pop Art

Pop Artstarted in the 1950s and became very popular in the 1960s, this was after the war and people were feeling more liberated and opinionated in what they had to say.

Images in pop art are simple and bold based on things we can relate to our daily lives, or something that is happening currently in society painted in bright colors. Pop artists created pictures of consumer product labels and packaging, photos of celebrities, comic strips, and animals. 

Pop art is mainly characterized by an interest in popular culture and imaginative interpretations of commercial products, the movement brought in a new and a more relatable look into art. Artists work was a portrayal of any and all aspects of a popular culture that had a powerful influence on modern life. The visual images and symbols that were used in pop was presented in a forceful way and objectively, not with praise or judgement directed towards a particular subject, but with a lot of immediacy, using specific commercial techniques used in media. 

Pop art represented an attempt to go back to a more objective, universally acceptable form of art after the dominance in both America and Europe of the highly personal Abstract expressionism which was a new form of abstract art developed by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and 1950s. It is characterised by gestural brush-strokes or mark-making and gives an impression of spontaneity. 

Pop art gets its idea from Dada, an art movement that came into being during the First World War in Zurich in negative reaction to the horrors and lunacy of the war. The art, poetry and performance produced by dada artists is often satirical and nonsensical in nature. 

American Pop art tended to be emblematic, anonymous, and aggressive, the artists seemed to live their ideas. Most of the Pop artists began their careers in commercial art. An example is Andy Warhol, he was a highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer, He was one of the founding artists of pop art. He began by exploring his well-known soup can motif. 32 Soup Cans is made up of 32 hand-painted and hand-stamped canvases, each portraying a different flavor of Campbell’s Soup. Warhol chose this subject matter because it captured Pop Art’s focus on mass production and his own artistic interest in repetition. Soon after painting this collection of canvases, he would continue to experiment with the soup can motif and with the idea of multiples.  

Another great American pioneer influence known for his colorful, comic-book inspired paintings, was artist Roy Lichtenstein. He put an animated and energetic spin on Pop Art. Whaam!, one of his most well-known compositions, adapts a scene from All American Men of War, a popular series published by DC comics from the late 50s to early 60s.

English Pop art was more about giving an impression and referential. It expressed a kind of romantic view of Pop culture stimulated perhaps by England’s relative distance from it. English Pop artists tended to deal with technology and popular culture primarily as themes, even metaphors. 

David Hockney, an English pop artist best known for his artwork, the bigger splash. He became fascinated by the idea that a painting might recapture a quick event frozen in a photograph. He said he loved the idea of painting a thing from an event that lasted for two seconds: and took him two weeks to paint. The liveliness of the splash contrasts strongly with the unmoving and rigid geometry of the house, the edge of the pool, the palm trees and the yellow diving board, all carefully arranged in a grid containing the splash. This gives the painting an intentional disconnection. one of the distinctive features of his style.

The Pop art movement wanted to blur the lines between high and low art culture, bringing up the idea that there is no specific order of culture, and that art comes from any source. Pop artists were the first to recognize that there is no direct access to anything, weather it is the soul, the natural world, or the environment we have made for ourselves. Everything is inter-connected, and therefore they tried to make the connections straightforward in their artwork. 

by Sylvia A.Zajc