Roy Lichtenstein

Ok so you probably have seen me venting my anger at mass consumerism, that is uneducated. Heres another one for you all, so your kids or you might have seen these in the shops recently:



So I have seen these on the highstreet, not only makes me want to ‘bang out’ anyone wearing this bang tee, but also makes me want to go into the design studios and say – ‘think on your feet’ take roy’s concept and develop it so he would be proud don’t just de- value it and not just wack it out! Why take Roy’s work and use it in vain, so here again its ok I’m here to educate you all on what your wearing or seeing on the highstreet and how this style really came about.


The Education

The American painter, sculptor and printmaker, Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), was one of the key figures of Pop Art. In his early years he specialised in using comic-book and advertising imagery as the basis for his paintings. In the 1980s he began to scale up his painted sketches which he would then proceed to paint with accurate detail. It is probably one of these paintings that Lichtenstein is standing in front of in this photograph.

Lichtenstein, born and raised in Manhattan, was focused on art from the start. Barely out of high school, he enrolled at the Art Students League and studied painting with Reginald Marsh. After a three-year Army stint during World War II, he earned an M.F.A. from Ohio State University, and worked here and there before moving to New Jersey in 1960, then back to New York City the following year.

In 1960 Roy found his new passion in art. The earliest example, “Look Mickey,” from 1961, is the first thing you see in the exhibition: a picture of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, adapted from a Disney children’s book.

look mickey 1961

He kept going in this new direction. He clipped ordinary images, a hot dog, a pair of Keds, a manicured female hand doing housework  from tabloid newspapers, comic strips and advertisements; made drawings of the images; transferred those drawings, enlarged, to canvases; and painted them. He set everything in the paintings against fields of Ben-Day dot patterns to suggest the look of cheap commercial printing, initially creating the patterns with a dog’s grooming brush dipped in paint. What he was making, of course, was Pop Art.

He didn’t invent it, but he was quickly pegged as one of its defining fmasters, and his career took off. In the early 1960s he continued to paint everyday objects, but switched from colour to black and white. He also moved from Disney comics to a romantic genre produced by DC Comics, from which he adapted a line of close-up images of the faces of lovelorn, emoting young women. borrowed images of explosions from popular war comics for use in his paintings.

The subject embodies the revolutionary nature of Pop art and suggests the very real threat of a nuclear explosion that was prevalent at that time. But Lichtenstein was also interested in the way dynamic events like explosions were depicted in the stylised format of comic book illustration. This print incorporates many of the hallmarks of his early painting style: flat primary colours, Benday dots, outlines and schematic drawing:

Explosion 1965-6 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Lichtenstein was adamant about keeping personal content out of his work. But you can see at some level, some seem to be a response to the Vietnam War, and reflects his own experience of World War II, he had been posted at an anti-aircraft training base,and the threat of nuclear catastrophe that haunted America in the postwar years. As you can see from his earlier sketches.

Drawing for 'Whaam!' 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

So go ahead wear these mass produced designs but be aware of the culture behind it an the relation it has to a fear of nuclear warfare. 🙂 Not as bright and happy as you thought ey. Thought as much. But please if you do wear these pieces throughout SS13 know your stuff because one of my crew might be onto you! Remember knowledge is power!



  1. Preach sista!! especially love this part of the post: “So I have seen these on the highstreet, not only makes me want to ‘bang out’ anyone wearing this bang tee” ha!

  2. Pingback: Pop Art – The Education | NOO 89

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