Roy Lichtenstein: The American pop artist who inspired me the most...
Apr 14, 2009
Ask me about my favorite visual artist, and my answer will always likely be the same:
Not only is he one of art's great unsung heroes, but along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein's bold style of comic-inspired paintings signaled a refreshing new change in American art from the 1960's onward: suddenly the modern art movement was fresh, it was stylish, and it became a nifty new wave known as "pop art" thanks to the depiction of commonplace American popular culture as depicted in a high art form.
But whereas Andy Warhol chose to focus his creative energies on more consumerism-themed/celebrity-worshipping subjects with his innovative use of printmaking and eventually geared his career into a more theatrical medium, Roy Lichtenstein stayed true to his original artistic roots and carried all of his comic book themes and stylings into the end of his career in the mid 1990's. From melodramatic comic strip heroines to frentic comic strip violence and war-themed hayhem, his style easily blended the polish of typical newspaper print-art into the glamour and understated wit of the pop art medium. Known mainly for the comic strip themes, mostly primary flat colors and his trademark BenDay dots((another stylistic element cleverly swapped from newspaper photos/art)), he also grew more innovative with his recognizable style and carried it over into female nudes, abstracts and even sculpture as his career progressed.
It was 1996 when Roy Lichtenstein passed away, leaving behind a legacy of brilliant pop art masterpieces in his wake. I was just a second year art student at the time, but I'd spent over half my life already appreciating and emulating his work, so it was quite a loss for such a fan as myself. And while his own life and career may not have appeared nearly as glamorous as Andy Warhol's, as quirky as Salvador Dali's, or as filled with as much angst-ridden bravado as Jackson Pollock's, I appreciate the fact that Roy kept things classy and let the world focus on his immense talent as opposed to his lifestyle.
Here's to celebrating and savoring the stylish artistic panache of Roy Lichtenstein for decades to come: his influence was not only pivotal to the original American pop art movement, but it even remains tangible to this day within general fashions and popular culture((Christina Aguilara's recent Target commercial, for instance?)).