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Three Ways to Make Art from Everyday Objects A La Pop Art!

Pop rocked the art world of the 1950s and 1960s.

It responded to the cultural attitudes of the period, as well as all the new consumer items and advertisements that invaded the marketplace. Pop Art (the theme of this month’s Smart Art Box!) took everyday objects, images and themes from the mass media and popular culture and turned them into artwork.

Why can’t you do the same?

So, taking inspiration from three of the most influential Pop artists, we give you three ways of transforming everyday objects into works of art.

1. Take a still-life photograph of any commercial or household object

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Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962, Museum of Modern Art (

The ultimate American Pop artist Andy Warhol began his career as a commercial illustrator, which might explain his later fascination with consumer objects in his artwork.

Choose any object lying around the house (just like Warhol’s Campbell Soup cans). Or, in the style of contemporary photographer Stephanie Gonot, choose several objects of the same color. Take paper in that or a complementary color with which to line the surface and background, before placing your objects carefully as you’d like to photograph them. You can even use the phone in your camera to take a modern still-life masterpiece!

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Stephanie Gonot photograph

2. Create a flag à la Jasper Johns

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Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958, Whitney Museum of American Art

We may have just missed the Fourth of July, but flag art never gets old! Take Jasper Johns, for instance, who was known for his paintings of ordinary objects and symbols. When he found a subject that interested him, such as the American flag, he depicted it over and over again, and in unique ways. Although his paintings seemed simple, upon close inspection they became complex: his flags were painted with thick, dripping encaustic over a collage of found materials such as newspapers.

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How will you create your flag design? How about painting it in unexpected places? Or using unexpected materials, such as a bed frame and ribbon?

2. Cut up a magazine and get creative!

Displaying 6.jpgRichard Hamilton, Interior II, 1964, Tate Modern

So many Pop artists were fascinated with advertising and fashion images. Many, including the British painter Richard Hamilton, drew from these visual sources to make extraordinary collages.

There are so many methods to collage-making! Take a cue from Hamilton and paint a scene around a magazine clipping, as he did in Interior II. Or make the entire scene with clippings from various magazines and newspapers, taking care to use a range of colors.

We hope you found these three tidbits inspiring – happy creating!

And don’t forget to share your work on Social Media with the hashtag #smartartbox!

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