Thursday, 10 May 2012

'I wish I'd done this'




Roy Lichtenstein
Woman in Bath
1963
Oil on canvas. 173.3 x 173.3 cm




This is just one of those pieces of art which I look at think, 'I wish I'd done this', there are a lot of things about this image which I am jealous of. I first came into contact with this particular piece in high school. I had been interested in art from a very young age, my first recollections of art were the likes of Picasso and Lowry, the kinds of things you were asked to recreate yourself in primary school art lessons. Although I appreciated this kind of art, I did not feel a personal connection with the style, it confused me in a sense, and I didn't crave to create it myself, and still don't. So, when I began to come into contact with pop art, like the image above, I was immediately intrigued and felt a connection with this style of art. I had always had an interest in past times, so as I began to look into this art movement, I became completely obsessed. 

I guess one of the main reasons why I wish I had done this image, is because I wish I was there in the time that this image was created. Everything about the culture of that time I find interesting, the music, the films, the fashion. But also, the way that art was now being created with popular culture in mind and the way that consumerism was being acknowledged in creative areas. That the concepts behind the piece were something I would understand automatically.

The composition and use of shapes and textures of pop art images interests me greatly, it informed almost every piece of work I have created. It is important to bare in mind that popular culture is the main basis for pop art pieces, and when we think of popular culture, what do we think of? Musicians, movie stars, magazines, the media, film. This informs the atmosphere and feel of the image as a whole, and changes how we look at these images, now when I look at a pop art image of a woman, I can image this woman as a model, a film star, a musician, so now I start to notice the composition, shapes and textures used in regards to this. 

The composition of 'Woman In Bath' is off centre, which makes the image look more natural, almost like a candid photograph, capturing a moment. I am interested in photography as well as illustration and I like to try and capture a scene when I am taking photos or creating illustrations. I believe this image creates the feel of that of a photograph, and therefore connects the two disciplines in the same way I like to think I can in my own work.

Not only is it the composition which interests me about this image however. Possibly the main thing which caught my eye about this image was the use of colour, it is simple and limited, yet striking, which is something I wish I was able to recreate in all my work. I think it is a talent of Liechtenstein's that he has managed to create a woman using abnormal colours for a humans skin tone, yet we as viewers do not question that she is human, or based on a real woman at all, we see her as normal. I think the different thickness' of lines are really interesting too, something that I need to spend more time working on within my work. The way in which the lines have been used to created her figure are well thought out, they create the shapes perfectly.

The lines around the woman are thicker than the lines behind her, this highlights her even more as the main subject of this image, going back to the idea of celebrity, the 'all eyes on me' aspect of popular culture. 

I wish I'd done this image because, it creates an atmosphere, a sense of place and a sense familiarity. The technique used, screen printing, is something i one day aspire to be an expert at, the lines and textures used are really simple yet effective, which is what i think makes a successful piece of illustration in my opinion. The use of limited colour works really well, and it is this type of use of colour which informs a lot of my work. Not only is the style which makes me jealous of this piece, it is also that this image is part of a movement, how amazing would it be to create something  so influential to so many people?

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