Hit the Slopes With Your iPhone: Snow Sports iPhoneography
In the northern hemisphere, winter is a time of early…
Looking to make some awesome comic book Pop Art straight out of the Sixties? You’ll never guess what you can do — just on your iPhone. For this post, we’ll focus on Roy Lichtenstein, who is considered one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century. Often grouped alongside Pop Art contemporaries like Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein reappropriated social and cultural imagery in order to make statements about society, consumerism, and the artistic process.
At the same time, Roy Lichtenstein pioneered a style all his own. To that end, Lichtenstein is probably most famous for two paintings in particular: Drowning Girl and Whaam!, both of which repurposed comic book material, yet also refracted the image’s light and color to produce distinct and resonant artistry.
What makes these particular works compelling is their blithe address of mortality, tempered by the levity of bright colors and “comic book form.” Lichtenstein himself considered these works to be forms of parody, that reduced the seriousness of violence depicted in comic books and movies into something that could be displayed in primary colors, and without real necessity for an additional “next pane” of the comic book form. The audience is “left hanging,” (why is the woman drowning? Who is fighting in that aerial dogfight?) but the vibrancy of the image papers over the natural curiosity to see the image’s natural progression.
Lichtenstein sticks to mostly primary colors, and doesn’t use excessive light, shadow, or detail. He also uses Ben-Day dots, small, closely-spaced colored dots, that were most-famously used in comic books in the fifties and sixties, to create imagery that is colorful, yet simple and impactful.
Lichtenstein’s images are also compelling is his use of comic book style captioning and thought or speech bubbles, which provide insight into the what goes on in his images. In Drowning Girl,the audience can understand some sort of conflicted romantic backstory between the subject and her (unseen) lover. In Whaam!, the pilot’s (presumed) recollection – “I pressed the fire control…” – makes it seem as though the image is something of a retrospective retelling of a WWII aerial dogfight. In so doing, Lichtenstein has made these photos more curious, because he has provided a broader context that piques the viewer’s imagination by telling us what our subject was thinking or feeling. Had Lichtenstein done his own iteration of the Mona Lisa, we might have become more curious, and not less.
iPhoneographers who are inspired to replicate Lichtenstein’s comic book pop art, should focus on two aspects: making the image look as though it was drawn in a comic book, and adding speech or thought bubbles that reflect ambiguity. Your image should be somewhat colorful, but shouldn’t overload on color. It should retain some detail, but should not be hyperrealistic.
Once you’ve produced your comic book Pop Art masterpiece, go ahead and print or post your picture. And don’t forget to tag Enlight – and remember us when you’re famous!
Written by David Leshaw.