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Pop Art – The Kapowder Room Secrets

by Folksy Support

Do you ever wonder what some of the tags, terms and genres you encounter on travels around Folksy actually mean? The Kapowder Room Secrets is a fortnightly column in which Konnie Kapow investigates the various themes and styles to be found in the wonderful world of Folksy!

This fortnight I am looking at Pop Art.

Last fortnight’s article focused on kitsch, which leads on rather nicely to Pop Art which was a movement that came into being during the 1950s and 60s.

What is Pop Art?


Pop artists used mass-produced commodities as its subject matter, often focusing on advertising images and isolating objects out with context.

Pop art derives direct from popular culture, be it well-known photographs or marketing imagery translated via traditional fine art methods as screenprints or paintings. Think Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup tins or Liz Taylor/Elvis/Marilyn Monroe screenprints, Roy Lichtenstein’s gigantic cartoon strip images on canvas or Jasper Johns’ use of the Stars and Stripes flag in painted imagery. Jamie, Mr Kapow!

Pop art is funky, sexy and witty. Depicting and imitating modern culture and celebrating the mundane and common place. Emma, Raspberry Designs

The simplistic representation of subjects in bright cartoon form for adults. Hysterie of Art

What does it look like?

Probably the first name that pops into people’s head when someone mentions Pop Art is Andy Warhol who pretty much single-handedly popularised the movement during the 1960s.

It seeks to represent the ordinary and boring items of everyday existence in a new and exciting way. It is colourful, bright and dynamic. Emma, Raspberry Designs

Bold, bright, strong graphic influences, powerful black lines, dazzling primary colours, use of text, pre-designed logos, fonts and photographic imagery. Often (as in Warhol’s soup cans) everyday mass-produced items reproduced huge or in repetitive patterns. Jamie, Mr Kapow!

For me it is usually a very bright, oversized or exaggerated representation of an actual thing or person, reducing the detail and bringing out the simple and most striking features. Hysterie of Art

Why is it popular?

A lot of the appeal of Pop Art, like kitsch, comes from the sentimentality. Pop Art invokes happy and warm feelings in the beholder because it features items or images from popular culture to which we attach feelings of nostalgia. How many times have you had variations of the “do you remember when they were called Opal Fruits/Marathons/10p pieces were massive/crisps don’t taste the same now that they’re foil wrapped conversation?

Because pop art is a real eye-catcher and head-turner. The images are so stark, in a good way, striking and colourful that people almost cannot help to notice them and retain their impression. There is little superfluous detail, so the basic image stands out much more clearly. And, above all, it is colourful and fun, which appeals to most people. Who wants dreary work on their walls? Hysterie of Art

Pop art appealed the mass market, the ‘little man’ in the street could appreciate ‘Art’ as it was without the stuffiness and pretention of traditional painting. It was a breath of fresh air after the pain and suffering of the war years and reflected the coming of a new age of rebellion, youth and wealth. Emma, Raspberry Designs

POP-ular?! It derives directly from “Popular Culture”, things everybody already knows and loves (or hates), is very familiar with, often whether they realise or not. Did anyone see any particular beauty in a Campbell’s soup can before Warhol turned it into an artwork? The mass-produced, everyday nature of the subjects of much Pop Art, or clever use of tools such as the cartoon strip or iconic figure from film or music meant that many Pop Art works had fans waiting for them before they ever hit the gallery walls. Jamie, Mr Kapow!

Who /What Inspires you?

Andy Warhol for me is the clear face of pop art. His images are iconic and they have mass appeal. His use of colour and choice of subject matter means that his work could be hung in a high-end gallery or in the average house. Roy Lichtenstein’s work promotes another aspect of pop art through his comic book images. They are big, bold and brash – but I love them. Emma, Raspberry Designs

My designs & photographs are inspired by the color of the seasons, festivals, people,day today life and most importantly my daughter. Indira, ialbert

Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein are big heroes of mine from an art world perspective and all had Pop Art surging through their veins. Otherwise I am, as were the great Pop Artists, infinitely inspired by popular culture, product design, marketing material, packaging, particularly from bygone eras. Movie stars and musicians feature prominently in many of my recent paintings. Much of my art celebrates a given time, a musical genre or a particular movie. Jamie, Mr Kapow!

Why does Pop Art work well within the crafting scene?

Coming from a rich culture with an Indian background where colour plays a vital role, I believe my work reflects that. Indira, ialbert

I feel that the pop art movement has had a great influence on the crafting scene. The use of big bold colours and the techniques can both be transferred and used successfully. There seems to be a better correlation between crafting and more modern artistic movements such as pop art than say traditional Neo-classicism or fluffy, sickly Rococo. Emma, Raspberry Designs

Incorporating imagery from mass-produced markets (particularly where I live in Glasgow you see use of Tunnocks Tea Cakes and Irn Bru based designs in much on offer at the many craft fairs around town) just works. Nice design work, the association with something people love or reminds them of happy times (childhood, etc.), works brilliantly in terms of things like greeting cards, Junk Jewellery, T-shirts, badges, etc. 1980s fizzy drinks cans, confectionary wrappers, things that make people smile. All work brilliantly in a crafting context. Popular culture is a goldmine! Jamie, Mr Kapow!

For me personally, because it is good fun and really energising to create and produce. Making great, simple and colourful pieces is really uplifting. Hysterie of Art

So there you have it, be sure to keep a look out for the fab Pop Art creations of our wonderful sellers!

List of images:
12 Campbell’s Soup Tin Beads by Jillian’s Jewellery
Marilyn Monroe iPhone Case by Crank Cases
Mad Men Joan Holloway Harris Print by Cheap Thrill Seeker
Dolly Parton by Mr Kapow!
Bang Pop Art Print by Quirkyville Hand Drawn Pop Art inspired Necklaces & Prints
Retro Comic Spiral Bound Notebook by Rockavision Studios Unique Notebooks Notecards & keyrings
Tunnock’s Teacake Screen-Printed Cushion by Nicky Made

More about our columnist

Konnie Kapow is a superhero card designer on a mission to save the world from dull and namby pamby greeting cards! Her offbeat sense of humour combined with quirky card designs make her shop a popular destination for card shoppers. Konnie lives in Glasgow with her artist husband Mr Kapow! where they can be found collecting rock n’ roll memorabillia and knitting in bed.

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2 comments

Indira April 13, 2011 - 5:57 pm

Lovely article, thanks for featuring about my work.
-Indira

Folksy Blog – The Kapowder Room Secrets – Craft trends and genres May 27, 2011 - 10:36 am

[…] Pop Art […]

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