A Brief History Of Pop Art: From Its Definition, Its Top Artists, And The Future Of The Art Form

Pop art began in the 1950s and has been reinvented today.

As an art movement, the pop art definition is any art that is based on popular culture and mass media that is used as critical and/or ironic commentary on traditional fine art values. Pop art began in mid-1950s Britain and the late-1950s United States thanks to those like Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton in the former, and Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein in the latter.


When it comes to famous pop art figures, though, it is impossible to ignore the impact Andy Warhol left behind in the medium. Warhol brought the art form into a lifestyle and, when looking at famous paintings such as "Campbell's Soup Cans" and "Marilyn Diptych," both from 1962, it's hard to deny that they are signature Andy Warhol art pieces.

Now the internet has given birth to a whole new world of pop culture art. By taking certain pop art characteristics and applying them to technology, you can create art pictures that speak to the post-2000 world. This has resulted in folks creating images that can be found more easily and have a wide reach on Google, art that reaches into other realms of entertainment.

By taking your interests and applying the artistic touches in pop culture art techniques to them, you can create something entirely new. For instance, you can create album art to incorporate your love of music. Elsewhere, you can even see your favorite Disney movie and create Disney art that speaks to many people, such as Fernanda Suarez's look at what Disney Princesses might look like if they lived in 2017. Even look at your favorite TV shows or movies and give birth to some truly incredible character art that other fans can connect to.

While there is plenty of innovation spinning pop art into the new millennium, it's important to not forget the artists and their work that got us to where we are today. For example, a Roy Lichtenstein piece titled "Masterpiece" recently sold for $165 million and, with that money, arts-friendly and -supporting organizations can be formed — as well as those benefitting other societal issues we face today.

New York City's Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim are a great resource in terms of learning more about pop art. Art Fund has an educational tool that can help you learn about the history of pop art, with an interactive timeline charting its inception in the U.K., its rise to popularity in the U.S., and its worldwide spread ever since. In addition to that, there are also organizations such as The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts that act as a link between the past, present, and future of pop art.

Cover image via Aniwhite / Shutterstock


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.