Design & Art History – Pop Art (CA.1959-1970)

Design & Art History, Uncategorized

The exchange of creativity and culture.

“Good evening.
The world of pop art, the world of filmstars, the twist, science fiction.
A world which you can dismiss if you were feeling so inclined of course as being tawdry and second rate, but a world all the same in which everybody to some degree anyway lives,
whether we like it or not.” -Unknown

In a world of fast food and fast cars, pop art emerged in the mid fifties, during Americas post war economic boom. In the sixties Americans went big on cigarettes, alcohol and sex. Because of this an industry sprang into action to sell more of it, namely advertising.

A brazen new art, it shrugged of the tragic burden of the human condition.
Adding to a new mass produced world, filling the billboards and television screens for a new wide eyed generation of consumers. The British had started it, but the Americans made it bigger and more daring. Pop art in itself was a rebellion against the expressionist art movement at the time.

 

Andy Warhol :
There is simply no way around it.
There is no discussing pop art without mentioning Andy Warhol and the pop art he created of Hollywood stars and starlets.

Most famous of which would be the Marilyn Monroe prints. These silk screen prints were created in, and distributed from, his studio known as “The Factory”. The Marilyn print portfolio was created in 1967, after she passed away in 1962.


There are more than 20 versions, of which just one of them, recently sold for 28 Million USD.

Andy Warhol, being the man that he was, claimed painting was “dead” and that he was at the forefront of creating a new art form. This was in 1966 after he created “The Cow Series”.

This series transcended the expectations of printmaking and artistic expression at the time, and is probably the reason why this technique was later adapted for his work with silk screens and the Monroe series. The cows were printed on wallpaper.

 

 

Roy Lichtenstein :
Another artist working in New York at the time was Roy Lichtenstein. Known for recreating single frames out of cheap comics in a large and matte  format.

Lichtenstein had a masters in art from Ohio State University. He worked in advertising up until 1957 before he became obsessed with the shape language of pop art.

One of his most famous artworks is an image of two jets called Whaam. These are two individual frames combined to create the full work of art. His works keep inspiring artists to this day, and his style has become a staple in what a new generation might misinterpreted or call “old style comics”. For instance, the dots a printing press would create, were recreated in his work as an aesthetic.

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Whaam by Roy Lichtenstein

 

POP ART NOW.

Pop art is very much still a big part of the times we are living in currently. Inspiring new as well as established artists and students, in many ways.

 

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Artist : DogHollywood. “I’ve always loved the Andy Warhol pop art style from the ’60s and wanted to do a homage to it.

 

Yoshitomo Nara :
Talking about pop art in more recent times, the biggest name is Yoshitomo Nara, a japanese artist working out of Tokyo. His art is being displayed in museums and galleries all around the world. He attended the University of Fine Arts and Music in Aichi japan and later moved on to study at the Düsseldorf Art Academy.

Being a part of and inspired by the modern pop culture from both the western world as well as pop culture in Japan after the second world war. He is recognized as the greatest contributor to Japans very own pop art movement in the 1990`s.

 

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Artist : Yoshitomo Nara – Girl with Cigarette

Thank you for reading.

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Illustration – “AI” – Geisha.

Illusions, Uncategorized

Tools :

The software i used for this illustration was Adobe Illustrator on the Ipad pro (also known as Adobe Draw). I later imported it to Adobe Illustrator on my PC to touch up and finish the image.

From sketches to illustration – progression.

Before i begin sketching i usually go through a thought process. Depending on the work i want to create, the time i spend thinking about the image and visualizing it varies.
After i have an idea on how i want the sketch to turn out i do some research.

Spending a few minutes on Pinterest i get some inspirations and visual impressions before i execute the first/starting sketch. Be careful with spending too much time on this however as you do not want the inspirations you receive from elsewhere to dictate how your piece turns out.

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The first step was starting a rough sketch, trying to capture the essence of what i am visualizing and trying to create with the image.

This is however not necessarily the right approach always. It was the way i started this illustration, but sometimes you just get a sketch you want to complete with no visualizing or intention as well.

The beginning of an illustration or sketch is always open to varying your approach. You could always start a new sketch if it does not pan out as intended.

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After the main sketch was done i spent some time experimenting with it on different layers, thinking about colours and lighting etch, this is evident with all the layers i used.

After i had spent some time thinking about the image i reduced the opacity on the sketch and started refining the line art on a new layer.

This is definitely one way several digital artists go about refining and create line work.
However this is not always how i go about it myself. Refining line art on a new layer is maybe an easy way of doing it but sometimes refining the sketch itself is a better way to approach an image, albeit a more difficult and time consuming approach.

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On this one however i refined the line work on its own layer. Spending some time adding details around the face and hair to create more interest and ensuring the face is the focal point of the illustration.

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I do this spending some ekstra time getting the line work to be coherent. meaning creating lines mostly in one long swift stroke with minimal amounts of breaks in between the lengths of the lines. This is to ensure the line work doesn’t look scratchy and broken up in between the endpoints.

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After i have finished the line work of the main sketch, i continue working on it adding more details. Focusing on shadows and where the light source is i draw in where the shadows  are to create some more depth in the line work. I also add more detail around the face and hair, trying to create interest.

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Finishing the line work is always satisfying to me, probably because this is where i tend to spend the most of the time i work an an image. This is when i begin spending time on experimenting some more with new layers and colours to figure out what i want to do next.

When i have made up my mind i start organizing my layers again to remove the unnecessary ones and clean up the work space. Keep in mind however that you should not delete the rough sketch layer. It is nice to have as a comparison later down the road of the illustration.

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Now the time to add colour has come, i played around with several combinations of colours to find the ones i wanted to use in this illustration.

I like de-saturated colours as they dont “glare” and strain the eye as much as highly saturated tones do. I want the image to lead the eye well without having too bright colours that steal the interest away from the focal points.

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After getting a base colour palette to work with mu drawing i started fiddling with the flowers on the fan the geisha is holding.

This is where i got stuck. This happens sometimes, you get stuck on illustration work and you dont really know what to do about it. I put the illustration away for a few days while thinking again about how to deal with this issue.

I the end i asked another artist friend of mine on how she would approach it (i specifically asked about the background colour). Blue was suggested as the colour for the background as she thought this would give the illustration some more depth.

In this i agreed, i played around with some blue hues that i thought would work well.

Pro Tip : When stuck, ask someone for directions.

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To finish the illustration`s background i wanted a graphical element to round the whole image off.  In the background is the kanji for “Ai” drawn on a makeshift wall.

Of course when using graphical element from a written language that is foreign to you, one needs to do some research.

In Japanese, both “ai (愛)” and “koi (恋)” can be roughly translated as “love” in English. However, the two characters have a slightly different nuance.

I did some research and found this web page from ThoughtCo explaining what i needed to know for this illustration with, at the very least,  a small degree of confidence.

 

Feel free to leave a comment on this post and let me know what you think.
Thank you for reading, i hope you enjoyed it.