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Pop Artwork Masters

A final dive into some of the most important artists of the Pop Artwork movement, looking at five more distinctive and defining talents.

Mimmo Rotella

An Italian artist linked to numerous movements including Lettrism and Nouveau Realisme as well as Pop Art. Beginning his art career after World War Two he experimented with figurative and geometric artworks as well as poetry, becoming a Fulbright Scholar and meeting artists like Rauschenberg, Oldenburg, and Pollock.

After struggling for a period to find something new in art to explore, he began to focus on advertising posters as an expression of the modern city, and began working with decollage and ideas inspired by Cubist and Dadaist artists. Through the 60s he played with New Realism, assemblage of objects, and Abstract Expressionism, but remained best known and most celebrated for his work with advertising posters and materials.

Robert Indiana

Responsible for one of the most iconic typographic images of the century, Robert Indiana studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Skowhegan School in Maine, and Edinburgh College of Art in the UK, before returning to New York and finding his way into the art scene, and had a piece bought by MOMA, which helped to make his name.

He became best known for powerful typographic pieces, drawing on simple words and the grammatical stylings of highway signs and roadside entertainment venues in his pop artwork, sometimes as paintings, sometimes as sculpture, and sometimes as art prints. His iconic LOVE image was first made as a card, which Indiana sent to friends and was later on licensed by MOMA as their 1965 Christmas card.

Mel Ramos

With the great fortune to be taught by Wayne Thiebaud, Ramos went on himself to teach art throughout much of his life, whilst also maintaining a career as a much admired Pop Artist. He built his recognition through the 1960s, exploring comic book styles and exhibiting regularly alongside Lichtenstein and Warhol.

He often worked with female nudes, posing them alongside or within branded consumerist packaging; from bananas to chocolate bars and boxes of Ritz crackers. Styled like pin up girls, his work has often been seen as an ironic reaction to advertising and mass media cliches, which has seen his work included in Pop Art exhibitions and retrospectives at art galleries around the world.

Claes Oldenburg

After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, Claes Oldenburg set up a studio in New York whilst working as a librarian, and began selling paintings at art fairs. He began to associate with a group of artists playing with art happenings that broke from the focus on Abstract Expressionism at the time, and inspired him to look in fresh places for inspiration.

He started creating sculptures from material like cardboard, burlap, and plaster, depicting everyday objects like clothing and food which saw him quickly grouped with other Pop Artists. He continued to be involved in art happenings, and spent periods focused on drawings and designs for large scale outdoor monuments, such as a giant garden tool, a plug, and his famous spoon and cherry bridge. Now in his 90s, Oldenburg’s work continues to appear regularly at Pop Art exhibitions and retrospectives at art galleries around the world.

Peter Max

A German Jewish artist, who’s family fled the war in 1938, Peter Max did much of his growing up in Shanghai, Israel, and Paris, where he began to study Fauvism, before moving once again, to settle in New York. He established an art studio with Tom Daly and Don Rubbo and they worked on a range of commercial projects.

Over time, Max’s work began to move towards psychedelic colours, in his own work as well as commercials, and this bold use of colour, perhaps inspired by the Fauvists, made him famous. He began a remarkable career which saw his Po artwork on postage stamps, US border welcome signs, and corporate TV commercials, as well as in the finest art galleries in the world; a very fitting duality for a Pop Artist.

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