How Pop Art Movement Artists Celebrate Common Access to the Commonly Known
Pop Art and Its Origins
Pop art came into being in the mid to late 1950’s in the United States and in Britain, and represented parts of culture that was shared by the masses.
The movement established a differentiated connection of everyday subject-matter with an audience scale never achieved before – think Brillo Soap Pads!
It is important to note that pop art was perhaps a strong commentary against capitalism as the art often sought to find connections within the masses that surpassed economic and social status.
“What’s great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”
- Andy Warhol, pop art movement artist. | https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1203.Andy_Warhol?page=2
Andy Warhol, “Coca-Cola 5 bottles” 1962. Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas.
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / DACS/Artimage 2018
Together with his art and related commentary, Warhol worked to establish lines of commonality between people whose lives seemingly might otherwise never have any parallels.
Pop Art Today
Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami are two great examples of modern pop art artists or what is considered to be “Pop Art” in today’s art world. There is a focus on consumerism and content that is familiar and available to the masses, but the overall point seems to be less political than the original movement in the 1950s (which was only a decade after the end of WWII). Pop art today seems to be inherently positive and quite simply put – very happy.
My Content, My Pop Art
I find my own art to be at a crossroads of these two different eras and types of pop art. On one hand, I value and cherish the nostalgia that simple objects or activities represent in consumers lives, such as roller skating or carnivals. Pop art offers a chance to put a stamp on nostalgic memories and formative periods within our own lives, and it also gives artists and the public the opportunity to celebrate the common place and oftentimes overlooked, i.e., Koons’s depiction of a child’s balloon animal.
On the other hand, similar to Warhol, I as an artist, am drawn to the idea of using iconic figures, specifically strong female figures (Warhol did portraits of Jackie Onassis, Queen Elizabeth II. and Marilyn Monroe, to name a few) that are household names and visually depicting them in my art as cultural statements. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is often the subject of my paintings and prints as she is obviously well-respected by the masses. Not only is she well-known but her actions and court decisions also affect the masses and have done so for decades.
I appreciate the origins of pop art, while I also try to reinterpret the nostalgia of yesteryear to the cultural relevance of tomorrow. Take Cher, for instance. What she stood for in the 60s and 70s, has transcended and has been redefined in today’s society – a society coming to terms with what inclusion and equality truly means. Using well-known cultural figures and commonplace objects as a focus in art offers endless opportunities for the artist to make meaningful connections with her audience.