Pop art is one of the most widely recognized art movements of modern times. Since emerging in the mid-1950s and 1960s, pop artists have produced works of art that are inspired by the realities of everyday life. It was artists like Andy Warhol that lead the pop art movement through its questioning of elitist culture, and fine art by contrasting these more traditional approaches with imagery and techniques drawn from mass culture. By using bold colors and famous faces, everyday objects can be turned into symbols consumerism and materialism, but also optimism. So, how can you use the pop art style of Andy Warhol in your own work to grab the attention of others?
Below are 3 ways to incorporate the signature style of pop artists like Andy Warhol into your own creative projects.
1. Draw on the notions of fame and celebrity culture
One of the biggest themes of pop art is an obsession with fame and celebrity culture. Our fascination with what it means to be famous has only grown since the days of Andy Warhol who once declared, “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”
In a society dominated by social media and reality television stars, it seems that peoples’ infatuations with the talents and lifestyles of the rich and famous is not going anywhere. Hollywood, movies, television, magazines, newspapers, and now the internet, can all serve as inspiration for your next creative project. Look to pop art representations of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis Presley, and try to interpret these images through a modern lens.
Marilyn Monroe was often the subject of artwork produced by Andy Warhol. Some of his most famous pieces are The Marilyn Diptych (1962), The Shot Marilyns (1964), and Untitled from Marilyn Monroe (1967).
Warhol was fascinated by the complex relationship between death and the cult of celebrity, and Marilyn Monroe was essentially the personification of these ideas for him. For more information about the life of Andy Warhol, take a look at this useful guide: https://hamiltonselway.com/andy-warhol-art-guide/. In your own work, you might want to use images of someone in the public eye who intrigues you, and then use their appearance as inspiration for your next project.
2. In the style of Andy Warhol, make the ordinary extraordinary
At its core, pop art is all about elevating everyday objects to high art status. Subverting the cultural hierarchy in this way effectively passes commentary on the role of art as a commodity.
Historically, pop artists like Andy Warhol incorporated and created images of objects that are mundane and ubiquitous, like cleaning products or groceries, to produce artwork. Turning everyday items into art in this way can elevate just about anything to modern art museum worthy status. Removing objects from their context in itself makes a statement about modern society.
But, what if you’re not sure where to begin? Even a simple burger could be the inspiration for your next piece of artwork. By contrasting the high culture of art with low culture references like fast food, pop art can be thought of as a visual representation of the blending of two distinct visual sources into one combined image.
Everyday objects are not only incredibly easy to find, they can also be presented in a stylistic way by contrasting them against a stark, blank background. Creating art in this way allows the viewer to focus solely on the item being represented and can be a highly useful technique for advertising.
3. Create a collage
One final way to make a statement through pop art is by combining images from different sources to create a totally unique collage. Images can be taken from magazines, comic books, advertising materials, and other mass-produced graphic references to produce an entirely new artistic or cultural statement.
In turn, producing a collage can point out analogies between popular products and people that might only be subtle on the surface level but can be highlighted through artwork. You might, therefore, want to create a fun collage using a collection of existing images to produce a completely new piece of art.
Objects can be fashioned into letters to spell out words, and images can be arranged, overlaid, enlarged, or even recoloured to create an entirely new meaning. Much of the visual impact of pop art is created by the reproduction of familiar images and, therefore, this type of artwork can be used to reflect society and its fascinations.
Andy Warhol would often enlarge and repeat everyday objects in his collages. It is widely speculated that this use of pattern could be interpreted as a nod to the enduring nature of consumption.
Getting inspired by the pop art style of Andy Warhol
Ultimately, it is the familiar self-perpetuating nature of pop art that has allowed this bright and colourful movement to stand the test of time. Consumerism and our fascination with fame and popular culture can only be expected to live on as technology continues to provide us with new and exciting ways to enjoy our favourite products.
All of this while simultaneously following the antics of the rich and famous. Above all, the artistic stylings of Andy Warhol and his fellow pop artists will be with us for many more years to come.
Are you tempted to make your very own pop art collage? If you’re looking for more art-related ideas, check out these tips for setting up an arts and crafts corner in your home.