5 Key aspects about street pop art + 3 prints you should hang in your walls

street pop art

The global coronavirus crisis has changed human habits. Among them, the way people usually purchase products. For example, there are new ecommerce platforms which sell artworks, including but not limiting to street pop art.

What’s true is that the contemporary art industry has suffered in the past 7 months. However, home buyers are taking this opportunity of staying at home more regularly to purchase new decorative elements.

Today’s article will inform you about when did this post-graffiti movement start, what techniques do artists use, who are the most famous & relevant Spanish creators and why you should add some color to your walls.

Definition of street pop art

The most famous painting in pop art
Artwork painted in 1967 by the American artist Andy Warhol. Author: Andrew Moore

We would best describe it as an art movement which can borrow from any source, where there exists no hierarchy of culture. Moreover, street pop art focuses on celebrities, toys and other figures present in advertising, radio and/or television.

In addition, you should take into account that we could observe it in different formats & techniques. For example,

  • Sculptures developed with recycled materials,
  • Collage from newspapers & magazines,
  • Street art, either on canvas or walls.

When did pop art start?

Art historians place the beginnings of this art movement in Great Britain, during the 1950s. Similarly to what happens with many other art scenes, street pop art spreaded around the world. It continued in the US along the 1960s, although its main period ended in the early 1970s.

Who were the most influential artists during that time?

Andy Warhol street pop art Exhibit at Olin Galleries.
Street pop art exhibition at Roanoke College

We consider Andy Warhol (1928–1987) as probably the most relevant pop art creator. Do you remember his artistic experiments with Marilyn Monroe’s images, the Campbell’s soup tins and Coca Cola bottles? That was the kickoff for street pop art!

However, the American artist is not the only one that you should take into account when preparing an art essay. These are other famous figures to include:

  • Richard Hamilton (1922–2011) , who produced some of the earliest works of British pop art. 
  • Jasper Johns (1930- ) and his American flag. He approached it as an object, rather than a symbol.
  • Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997) , master at the comic-book genre (specifically DC Comics).
  • James Rosenquist (1933–2017), fascinated by the popularisation of political and cultural figures in mass media. For example, John F. Kennedy

What are the techniques used by artists to create street pop art?

From the day that pop art was first observed in the streets, there are many things that have changed in our world. For instance, those early artists who did their artworks with no permission as compared to the commissioned walls that street art lovers could observe nowadays.

Another aspect to take into consideration is the improvement observed on spray cans. Both the paint’s quality and the caps’ new forms allow artists to perform at higher levels.

In the same vein, artists from all over the world agree that the urban art industry is rapidly changing urban landscaping. Thus we would be able to visit cities not only because of their architecture, but also because of their street art.

Stencils & masking tape

street pop art prints by Obey
 ‘Printed Matters’ expo by Shepard Fairey at Galo art gallery, Torino

The first technique that comes up to our minds when thinking about street pop art is developed either with a hard paper or any recycled x ray film. We refer to stenciling.

Shepard Fairey, also known in the modern art circuit as Obey, is probably one of its most relevant figures. He did not only become famous because of the illustration of a wrestling fighter called André The Giant, but also because of former US president, Obama’s political campaign.

It is also common in urban mural art to observe other artists using stencils. They paint street art pieces using patterns & shapes that turn boring walls into open air contemporary galleries.

Street pop art collage

Ray Johnson 1960

After that, you’ll find out that many other street pop art makers used cutouts to develop their artworks. That’s the case of Ray Johnson (1927- 1995), an American citizen who was described as “New York’s most famous unknown artist”. However, that was before he committed suicide.

In order to create his artworks, Mr. Johnson used a combination of irregularly shaped ink drawings, newspaper clippings, and portraits of stars.

Up until today, modern art lovers continue observing illustrators interested in collage as a way to express emotions, states of mind and other personal interests.

Sculptures created with different materials

street pop art sculpture
Artwork created by Laurence Valliers. Gallery: Swinton & Grant (Madrid, Spain)

Lastly, you’ll find out how artists employ recycled materials in their solo exhibitions & studio work. For instance, we could point to the street pop art sculptures developed by a Canadian artist named Laurence Valliers.

She believes that art could serve as a political influencer. “Using trash to make art has political meaning when our economy is so harmful for the planet.” That’s the reason why she considers her artworks political.”

Likewise, pop art influenced her recycled cardboard sculptures. It’s a way to express human emotions in an animal form. The image shown above alternatively represents Mickey Mouse, but you could also observe other Disney characters in her artworks.

Brief list of Spanish artists close to the street pop art movement

It is an honour for Cooltourspain team members to introduce you to some of the emergent talents that we found along the territory. What’s true is that they do not only produce street pop art, but we would relate them somehow to this artistic movement.

Whether they paint on walls, prints or canvas, you’ll find out that they make use of relevant social figures and toys present in our lives. Moreover, they create their illustrations with stencils, acrylics and other materials. For instance, spray paint.

1-. Tdecoma (Salamanca), available here

available prints by Spanish street pop art artists

2-. Hector Clarossi, on sale at Pitiminis

modern street pop art

3-. Street pop art by Joke KPC (Valencia)

pitiminis online gallery

Cooltourspain’s opinion about street pop art

We love investigating about different art movements. What we found out about street pop art is that it could help us connect with our childish version, when we used to play with toys and watch television with our parents at home.

Despite the fact that it was in Great Britain and the United States where it all started, Spain contributes enormously to the modern art circuit. Have you ever participated in street art festival?

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