Focus on Pop Art
Mention Pop Art and you’ll no doubt be transported to a place of vibrant colours, quirky characters and familiar slogans steeped in American culture. Emerging across the United States and Britain in the mid 1950s, the use of the word ‘pop’ gives a clue to the movement’s aesthetic. Put simply, ‘pop’ refers to the movement’s focus on popular culture, whilst simultaneously suggesting the bright or ‘popping’ nature of the works themselves. The movement’s easy and upbeat aesthetic rejected other movements, such as abstract expressionism, that were understood as more elitist due to their focus on the biography or ego of the artist. In contrast, Pop Art prioritised elements and motifs found across popular culture - such as comic strip and advertising - making the works more accessible to a wider audience.
Key Pop Art-ists include Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg in the United States and Eduoardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton in Britain. Undoubtedly, however, the two heavyweights when thinking about the movement are Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol - the former dedicated to ironic, comic-strip pieces, the latter larger-than-life portraits of glamorous pin-ups.
Anyone lucky enough to visit the Warhol exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York will be familiar with some of the key components of the style: the use of repetition, a focus on mixed media and collage, celebrity subject matter and bright colours all feature prominently in the work of these seminal artists. The movement is still an aesthetic that inspires contemporary artists today and here at the Affordable Art Fair, we are proud to feature a wonderful range of popping pieces that are either heavily inspired or subtly nod to Pop art. Its instant ability to lift the atmosphere and mood of a room makes it an extremely interesting genre to collect - read on for our pick of some of our favourites from the online shop.
A vital element of the Pop Art genre is the inclusion of celebrities and Hollywood stars, best seen in the work of Andy Warhol who memorialised Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy in his eye-catching portraits. Following suit, David Studwell’s stunning print of Sophia Loren brings together traditional printmaking techniques with a modern subject matter. Influenced by pop culture, cult movies and Pop Art, David’s work revolves around the theme of celebrity - both its glamour and its dark side.
Contemporary artists often put their own spin on the retro theme - Tim Fowler, for example, gives his typical Hollywood portrait the abstract treatment in Dorothy, where pastel colours and thick brushstrokes give his subject a new lease of life.
Likewise, Maria Rivans’ mixed media piece Marianne, depicting Swedish siren Anita Ekberg, combines a vintage photograph with a wonderful explosion of mixed media. Combining Hollywood glamour with a contemporary twist, these portraits would be fabulous additions to a well-used interior, brightening up and adding some oomph to your living room, dining room or kitchen.
Likewise, lift the atmosphere of any room with an experimental or intricate collage such as Pierre Francois-Grimaldi’s dynamic piece. Using vintage advertising posters, often found during refurbishing works of Paris metro stations, the faded pieces of paper Pierre layers in his intriguing collages capture a lost world, retaining a sense of nostalgia whilst also proving lively and upbeat. This piece would look wonderful as part of a busy salon hang, perhaps with other vintage finds on a white wall in a bedroom or living room.
If it's vintage nostalgia you are looking for, we are big fans of Simon Kirk’s work. Bringing together two important Pop Art features - the use of collage and use of text - Kirk’s Invented People follows the tradition of using found pieces of text from newspapers and magazine to spell out his message literally.
God bless America
For many, Pop Art is synonymous with 1950s and 1960s American culture - and artists today continue to use key motifs of the movement in their prints, paintings and photographs. Items such as Coca Cola bottles, cars, neon lights and references to American culture are all familiar aspects we still see in artworks today: take Kareem Rizk’s Chrysler, which combines the quintessential car with more constructivist, geometric abstraction.
Richard Heeps’s Lariat Motel, Fallon, Utah (main image) fully embraces the retro and vintage feel. A photograph such as Richard’s proves extremely versatile, its highly saturated print celebrating all seems Americana whilst also remaining timelessly classic.
Finally, what could be more American than Albans’ U.S.A? This striking representation of an American flag would look fantastic on a white wall in a minimally decorated room - a real showstopper.
So, whether its a touch of old school Hollywood glamour, a nostalgic collage made from vintage posters or a wonderfully vibrant and popping photograph, investing in a little Pop Art is a perfect way to boost your interior!
Get browsing on our online marketplace, where you’ll find Pop Art pieces galore. No matter what your budget is, or the size of the space available in your home – follow the links below or use our handy filters to find that perfect piece.
Featured art from first to last:
David Studwell, Sophia Loren I, 2019, Silkscreen Print, £500, ContemporArti
Tim Fowler, Dorothy, 2017, Mixed Media, £2500, StudionAme
Maria Rivans, Marianne, 2018, Mixed Media, £500, Liberty Gallery
Pierre-Francois Grimaldi, Buitoni, 2015, Mixed Media, £5400, French Art Studio
Simon Kirk, Invented People, 2017, Turner Barnes Gallery
Ricahrd Heeps, 2003, C-Type, £595, Bleach Box
Alban, U.S.A. 1970, 2019 Acrylic, £3800, Galerie Art Jingle