Pop Art Portraits – Exactly What Makes Them So Distinct, So Interesting?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2011 in Articles | 0 comments

lichtenstein-pop-artPop Art Portraits is simply a visual art taken from the products used by the popular mass in their daily routines. It is putting different things into one piece of art, aiming for a certain message for the people who will be looking at it. Pop Art is quite hard to interpret with just one look. It is bright, colourful, and active. One could even barely know what artistic approach is used on the art piece.  Portraits, comic strips, graffiti, grudge, and photo montage are the five most popular types of Pop Art.

The term “Pop Art” came from the term “Mass Popular Art” of Lawrence Alloway in 1950s. He used this term in his article for a United States art exhibition, “This is Tomorrow”.  Alloway is an English art critic who promoted modern and concrete materials as form of art media. Since it was also the time which was the start of the youth empowerment, Pop Art is considered the visual arts counterpart of pop music and youth culture. Bringing a new taste in the world of visual art, Pop Art became rapidly renowned all over Europe and reached United States in 1960s. The movement of Pop Art is believed to be constructivism because the art piece is not really about the medium used or how fine the art piece is; it is focusing more on the social value it implies. One very famous Pop Art and one of the first Pop Art made is “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” by Richard Hamilton, an English painter. It is a collage made from cut-outs of images from different American illustrated magazines. It is a package of imageries about technology, space age, sex, gender, movies, newsprints and home. It was also used as the cover for the catalogue for the United States Art Exhibit of 1956, “This is tomorrow”. Other famous Pop Art artists were Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi, American artist Robert Rauschenberg, American painter Andy Warhol and American artist Claes Oldenburg.

Portrait is one of the most popular types of Pop Art. It is making a simple portrait of a person – with a twist. Some portraits of this type are dramatic; some are fanciful and colourful and some are weird and complicated. Classics like these portraits are far from the common modern Pop Art that everyone knows these days. The common modern Pop Art Portraits are just transforming simple portrait of a person into a fanciful one – changing the shades and lines of the portrait into different bright colours, making the portrait very different from the original. These type of visual arts are very famous for the youth today especially because of the technology people have like Photoshop and Picture editors software. Most are being used to social networking sites to attract more people to look to the portrait of the person who posted the Pop Art since these portraits are colourful and really attract the human eyes. Classics Pop Art Canvas, however, use different forms of media like cut – outs from magazines and news papers, pictures of people (single or group; private person or celebrity), etc. These different materials were being unified in a single canvass which looked more like a collage. These are more complicated to interpret than the modern visual arts. If that modern pop art focuses on attraction purposes, this Classical pop art are typically made for art exhibits which are being critiqued by art experts and columnists. Some world –renowned artists that made Pop Art Portraits were Peter Philips, Pauline Boty, and Ray Johnson. “Mick Jagger” by Andy Warhol, who is the father of the modern Pop Art is one of the most popular pop arts. It is a Pop Art portrait of Mick Jagger, lead singer of the rock band the Rolling Stones.

pop-art-canvasModern Pop Art Portraits are very popular with the youth of this new generation. The globalization of the technologies and culture gives way to the evolution of the youth’s mind – the evolution from being contented to that of creating what is fine for the eyes and ultimately to being innovative in everything around them. One best example of the technologies that made the youth exploratory is the internet, specifically social networking sites. Facebook is the most famous networking site for this generation, and one important thing that makes it and all other networking sites exciting is the “primary picture”. Users are given the chance to choose what picture they would use for their accounts and this also serves as the main attraction for their profiles. Here, modern pop art exhibits good technique for pictures to attract more viewers or other users. With the use of different online and offline software, which are also very easy to use, users around the globe could already edit their portraits to new interesting ones.

There are six easy steps in creating modern Pop Art Portraits. First is, of course, choosing a portrait. Second step is drawing an outline dividing the light and dark areas of the portrait. The third step on how to make a modern Pop Art Portrait is tracing the outline and transferring it to a new sheet of clean paper. The fourth step is shading the dark areas for recreating the basic tones of the original portrait. This is being done to know what appropriate colours should be used for all the different sections of the portrait. The fifth step is drawing a square grid over the portrait. This will serve as a template for transferring the portrait to any different scale desired. The last process is colouring the portrait with any preferred colour; however, one should always put in mind that the lightest and darkest of the colours are not recommended, as it will only make the portrait look like a negative. There are also four important factors an artist should remember in making a modern Pop Art Portrait:

1.) Colour, not the lightest and darkest of colours;

2.) Pattern, very important to emphasize important sections of the portrait and which has to be least emphasized.;

3.) Tone;

4.) Texture, to show dark colours and bond it with the light ones.

Pop Art already proved that evolution in art is not only about what looks good, what technique was used for the artwork or what materials were used; the social value or the message it gives to the viewers is just as important.

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Matt Steel (90 Posts)

Passionate about all things creative. Art, Photography, Film, Animation and all things related.


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