First of all, you need to know that I have always liked pop art. My first memory of it is of being in my bedroom making repetitive paintings of my mum's washing powder container. It was a french make called 'Gama'.I was only a young girl then and what attracted me to it were the bright colours, the objects repetitions and the idea that everything could be turned into art. I would spend hours browsing my mum's products cabinet looking for inspiration.
Andy Warhol was one of the first real artists I ever got in to. I remember once when I was 16 or 17 years old I went to an exhibition in Turin. I was cruising the gallery checking all those new (to me) artists, and quickly taking notes down in my faithful book when, I turned a corner and suddenly found myself in front of Andy Warhol's Volcano. It was the biggest work of art I'd ever seen for real. I was so excited I felt slightly sick.
Few months ago I went to see the Lichtenstein retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern. It was a Saturday afternoon and one of my rare "days off". The exhibition was so popular that entries were divided in to slots. I got there at 1pm and I was eager to get in, both because of the excitement of finally seeing the exhibition and because I was panicking, thinking how long can this last before receiving the dreaded phone call from the husband saying "you need to come home". Anyway, I approched the till with my card in my hand and bought my ticket. I was so happy, I was smiling and I reassured myself "it's happening" when the nice lady behind the till told me I would have had to wait until quarter past two before going in... "What??? Don't you know I have kids? Don't you know this is my first day off in months? Don't you know my little one can decide any minute he had enough of this 'mum-free' afternoon and I could receive a call and would have to rush back home? Please, please, please let me in. Surely one more person in there won't make that big a difference!"... "Sorry, no. You'll have to wait" the not-so-nice anymore, irrational and totally out of order lady said.
I was lucky, no-one called. So I sprinted in once my turn arrived. The exhibition was inspiring to say the least. Lichteinstein's whole career was before my eyes. Every single step of his work unfolded in front of me from his cartoon imageries to his "Whaam!"painting, finishing with the mind blowing "Landscape with boat". It all made sense. What an artist.
I took as much as I could back home with me. So much that during the following weeks Lichtenstein images were always on my mind. Everything kept flashing back along with the memory of my younger self in love with pop art.
30 years on and still I find myself in love with everyday objects and I still look at the world thinking that essentially, everything could be turned into art. I love this feeling of endless combinations. One afternoon I watched a short film on the Tate website where a make up artist was showing how to 'pop-art yourself' in a few easy steps. I really wanted to do it but knew it would have been a mission to do so with 3 little ones running around constantly asking me for something. It was a horrid rainy day and plans of meeting up with other mums for coffees seemed a bit pointless to me (there's only a small number of times I can face a packed coffee shop, with the children)...So anyway, we stayed in and instead of 'pop-arting' myself, I 'pop-arted' them! Needless to say the girls loved it, especially Dixie who finds any excuse to put on some make up, only this time it wasn't what she expected...
Do you fancy giving it a go? - Use some basic foundation on the face first. Apply red lipstick and bright blue eye shadow. With a black eye liner draw around the eyes, the eyebrows, the nose, the mouth and all around the outline of the face. Take a red lip pencil and draw small dots all over the face. Once you're done, use a white nail pencil to add some light to the mouth. Hair and back ground were added later with Photoshop. You can post some of your experiments if you like, I would love to see them!
Amy Dignam ©