As a one time art major (until I figured out that I could not make the kind of living that I wanted to make) I can explain something about pop art and how truly bogus *most* of it is.
And this is how easy it is for you to do at home:
Take a photo of Campbell’s tomato soup, for instance. No, really. Take a photo of it. Put it in a projector/enlarger that reflects on a canvas or watercolor paper or wall. Pencil the photo onto the canvas or wall. Then, start painting or coloring it in.
That’s how easy it is. That’s what Warhol basically could do with a soup can or a photo of Marilyn Monroe or any number of famous people. That’s how I painted a mural, in high school, of Minnie Mouse on a hallway at my alma mater. (Now to be clear, this is not exactly how Warhol did it. He silk screened the image of Marilyn onto canvas.)
Called "Gold Marilyn Monroe" this is Warhol's portrait that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Photoshop and other web sites online will also allow you to take a photo (maybe of yourself) and add effects that make it look like a cartoon or a painting. (And considering that Fairey admits to deleting computer files, I have to wonder how much Photoshop or similar software was used in his Obama poster.)
With these “techniques” anyone can be an artist. Kinda like dummy-ing down art or maybe “Art for Idiots” or to be less offensive, “Art for the Paint Brush Challenged.”
So, this brings me to Shepard Fairey and his now infamous portrait of Obama.
From the beginning, this guy was a thief. He stole an idea, an image and modeled it with “technique.” That’s all he did. Technique cannot be confused with talent. Anyone can learn a technique, but not everyone has a talent or a gift.
Fairey is a street graffiti artist; in street vernacular, he is a tagger. He is nothing more than that. And now with his latest admission that he lied to his attorneys (in addition to the court and everyone else) that he used another photo rather than the one that the AP claims he used and his admission that he deleted computer files to cover up his lies, he will never be anything more than that. And any art piece he does from this point on will be viewed as suspect.
Anyone can learn the iambic pentameter of a sonnet and write one. But not just anyone can be William Shakespeare or write anything like he did. Anyone can learn the technique of painting on wet plaster (fresco) but not just anyone can do Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
Look familiar? It's my avatar: the finger of God at the creation of Adam. From the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.
Anyone can learn Photoshop software and do this:
You guessed it: that's my face, imposed over a Chaplin photo.
But not just anyone can be Charlie Chaplin.
From this point on, Shepard Fairey will be nothing more than a man who learned some techniques and arrived at *almost* the right historical place at the right historical time.
Warhol pulled it off. Fairey never will.
The AP photo and the Fairey rip-off.
More at BigHollywood.com.
Older but interesting perspective from the LA Times.