We learned about Pop Art in our Elementary Art Class on Wednesday.
We started the class by talking about Pop Art and Andy Warhol’s famous prints. Pop artists celebrated commonplace objects and people of everyday life, in this way seeking to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art
Andy Warhol was drawn to the glamorous worlds of Hollywood, fashion, and celebrity.
His interest in pop culture manifested itself early on in his childhood collection of autographed celebrity photographs. Warhol bought and read teen magazines and tabloids to stay current on what was pop, even into adulthood. He carried this interest into his artwork, creating iconic paintings of mega-stars such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor. Warhol appropriated images for his portraits from magazines, newspapers, or directly from publicity photographs.
Andy Warhol used common everyday objects for his art such as soup cans, cars, butterflies and panda bears. We looked at and talked about his famous Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings.
Warhol’s iconic series of Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings were never meant to be celebrated for their form or compositional style, like that of the abstractionists. What made these works significant was Warhol’s co-opting of universally recognizable imagery, such as a Campbell’s soup can, Mickey Mouse, or the face of Marilyn Monroe, and depicting it as a mass-produced item, but within a fine art context. In that sense, Warhol wasn’t just emphasizing popular imagery, but rather providing commentary on how people have come to perceive these things in modern times: as commodities to be bought and sold, identifiable as such with one glance. This early series was hand-painted, but Warhol switched to screenprinting shortly afterwards, favoring the mechanical technique for his mass culture imagery. 100 canvases of campbell’s soup cans made up his first solo exhibition at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and put Warhol on the art world map almost immediately, forever changing the face and content of modern art.
For our project we made an Andy Warhol inspired block print.
We choose a simple image to print such as an ice cream cone, cupcake or a coke bottle. We learned about block printing and how the carved lines will not show on the print. We then printed the object four times and mounted it on black paper.
We took this opportunity to also learn about warm and cool colors.
Take it Home: In addition to the artwork, each student took home their blocks. On the front of the block is the Andy Warhol styled image and I let them make whatever design they wanted on the back. Just apply ink and you can remake this image over and over.
We had a special helper today! My daughter who is a sophomore at University of Washington came over to help with class. She loved it so much she wants to come back next week.