“I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and the soup can was it” Andy Warhol once said of his iconic Campbell paintings. A movement that emerged in the late 1950s – pop art presented a challenge to the traditional high-brow art world. Incorporating imagery from popular culture and the commercial world, it reflected the rise of mass media and consumerism, and a rejection of outdated views on what art could be.
It’s an aesthetic that has proven to be prophetic, taking on new relevance in the social media age where celebrity culture has reached its peak and images are created at an unprecedented speed – with a level of meaninglessness that we’ve never experienced before. Graphic, colourful and provocative – the pop art style translates perfectly to Instagram and is being reimagined in bold and inventive ways by a new a generation of creatives. Here are some of our favourite photographers and artists drawing inspiration from Warhol and Lichtenstein in 2018.
Fast fashion. Digital overload. Pop culture trash. Italian artist Claudio Parentela is channelling our era of excess into brilliantly absurdist GIFs. His booty-shaking, glitter-coated collage art blends fashion and beauty imagery with internet memes.
The perverse and the innocent meet to form a twisted narrative in Scott Wolf’a (aka Color Orgy’s) pop art pieces. Based in Phoenix, Arizona – the illustrator and painter blends the aesthetics of traditional values with provocative imagery to deconstruct the American dream. Finding inspiration from mid-20th century pulp fiction and comic books – Scott’s graphic images mix vibrant hues with equal parts of dark humour, to explore the sinister side of childhood, romance and gender roles in a changing society.
Nakeya Brown is an African American artist based in Washington D.C. whose still life photographs provoke questions around black identity and femininity.
Set against pastel tones, she depicts instruments and items associated with black women’s hair regimes – the shower cap, the hot comb, the perm kit and hair dryers, exploring Eurocentric concepts of ‘good hair’ and the changing language of beauty.
Claudia Chanhoi is an illustrator and graphic designer working out of London, Miami and Hong Kong. Her images, which appropriate the female form and repurpose the body as landscapes, banquets or pool accessories, are Instagram’s preferred combination of subversive, aesthetically pleasing and unashamedly political.