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Pop Art vs. Realism

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Since the start of time, we have had art all around us. What has changed is the types of art and the names in which to identify them. Art at its basic form is an expression of one’s self. Since everyone has different likes and dislikes, not everyone will agree on what we deem as art or enjoy the same forms equally. Just as unique an interpretation of a painting can be, likewise is our difference in our taste of art. Whether a person enjoys abstract art or pop-art, one or the other style of artwork will appeal to them. Do you recall the little Coppertone baby? How about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck? Have you ever sat down to read comic strips? These are all examples of “pop art”. Andy Warhol is one of the best known artists when it comes to pop art. He is the one who created the label for Campbell’s soup with Marilyn Monroe on it (Introduction to the Artistic Style of Pop Art, 2009). Pop art is a form of art that takes on a very diverse interpretation. It can range from advertisements, animation, sculptures to well…..just about anything. If it does not fall into a specific category of art, it is probably because it is “pop art” (Artcyclopedia.com). Social issues that are all around us are usually brought about in art, through the genre of pop art.

The pop art movement can be traced back to Britain in the mid 1950’s and then the introduction into United States later the same year (Bogdan, 2011) . It is more about the attitude that has driven the pop art movement, than it is the actual art (Bogdan, 2011). Unlike many other forms of art, pop art can entail taking a well known item from its origin and transforming it into something else. It is about using your imagination to come up with something new and intriguing (Bogdan, 2011). The next time you look at a billboard, watch commercials or even look at a logo, understand that all of this is a form of pop art. Similar to the way the name would have you believe, the art of realism is just that, real. The concept of realism is based on not using your imagination, but rather depicting people and things in their natural and specific context (Realism, 2009).

Creating pieces of work that portray the subject realistically started in the mid 1800’s after the French Revolution. Those who were crucial in the foundation of this type of art were John Copley of France and Spanish artist Francisco de Goya (Artcyclopedia.com). The realists who developed this type of artwork, were looking for a way in which to convey a form of art that did not use the imagination . Whether painting a portrait of someone, a landscape or anything visible to the naked eye, would be the art of realism. The platform of pop art is completely opposite that of realism. Where pop art uses the imagination to create or re-create something, realism displays things just as they are. While pop art is somewhat of a newer platform of representing art, realism has been around for well over a hundred years. Since these two areas are so different, even though one form of art expression may not appeal to you, the other form probably would.


Artcyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Retrieved 01 17, 2013, from Atist by Movement: Pop Art: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/history/pop.html Bogdan. (2011). 30 Impressive Example of Pop Art Illustration. Retrieved 01 17, 2013, from Top Dog Design Mag.com: http://www.topdesignmag.com/30-impressive-examples-of-pop-art-illustrations/ Introduction to the Artistic Style of Pop Art. (2009). Retrieved 01 17, 2013, from Art History.Net: http://www.arthistory.net/artstyles/popart/popart1.html Realism. (2009). Retrieved from Art Education: www.arteducation.com.au/art-movements/realism.php

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