Pop Art

Exploring Smirky, Roy Lichtenstein, and the world of pop art.

Inspired today by one of my favorite pieces of art and the desire to hang it, I want to talk about pop art. I can’t hang this particular piece yet because it goes over our bed and that room is still covered in wallpaper. Soon though. Soon.

This ever-so-slightly (okay, not-so-slightly) suggestive painting was done for me by a cutie painter cutely known as Smirky. I knew him for a short time years ago and loved his work. I seem to remember that the last time I spoke to him he had moved to Argentina (after living in Greece…nice life, eh?) and was playing polo. But man, I wish he’d get out his paintbrush because I loved his work. One of the things I love about him is that the guy knows his stuff. At first glance, a lot of people seem to think he’s inspired by Roy Lichtenstein — but according to his own blog, he really found inspiration in mid-century comic books.

"Romance comics were invented by Joe Simon and Jack "King" Kirby around 1950 in a successful attempt to expand the marketing of comics to young girls. Romance comics were around many years before before Lichtenstein started copying them. I don't use the word copying lightly, either. He literally would copy them, and some argue forcefully quite poorly. There's an entire website called Deconstructing Lichtenstein that is dedicated to finding the "real" artists behind the images made famous by Lichtenstein."

And people love Lichtenstein because he was accessible. His influence lives on in the strangest places. For example, the hair salon I frequent (www.spatini.com) is full of Lichtenstein-esque murals. It’s hip. It’s cool. And it’s an awesome salon. (See Daisy and tell her I sent you.)

I love his politicization (is that even a word?) of the romance comics, focusing on the female anxiety around falling in love with someone from the opposing party. I’ve cried over a Republican or two, haven’t you?

We all know I’m pretty conceptual, right? (Don’t laugh.) I think what drives me to pop art is the humor, the cleverness, the undertone of sharing a joke versus gorgeous bridges and lily pads and haystacks that make me a little bleary-eyed after a while. And of course, it’s mid-century heritage. If it’s mid-century, you gotta know I’ll love it, right?  And I love it for the same reasons I love the architecture of the period too.  It’s simple.  It’s straightforward. It’s new and modern. And it’s unexpected. That is of course, until it is.

For those of you wondering what in the words pop art even mean, this is where the art history geek in me raises her hand, pushes back her glasses on her nose and starts to spew.

(To read the rest of this post, click here.)

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