Pop Art Is Alive: Classics and Modern Artworks

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As a visual art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s, pop art aims to emphasize the nature of things popular in our daily routine. In pop art, most artists use mechanical means of rendering techniques that downplay the expressive hand of the artist. Being an art movement, it has some expressive attributes other styles do not possess.

In pop art, a vivid manifestation of pop culture reflects in vibrant colors and busy, sometimes hardly recognizable artistic approaches. Street culture, trash, collage, comic books, grunge, graffiti and photo montage are typical design elements that were widely used by designers and artists a few decades ago. And since grunge found its way back and became popular again, it makes perfect sense to analyze the design elements of pop art which are similar to this artistic style.

This post presents 75 outstanding examples of classic and modern pop art. Hopefully, everybody will find some inspiration for future works or at least smile when scanning the images presented below. Please notice: pop art can be quite vibrant and not necessarily pretty — in fact, some examples show that it doesn’t have to be pretty at all.

Please take a look at the following similar and related posts:

Classics of pop art

Richard Hamilton
Hamilton’s collage Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956) is considered by some critics and historians to be the first work of Pop Art. The piece has all the human senses cast in various modes; the purpose of the picture was to “provoke acute awareness of the sensory functions in an environmental situation”.

Pop Art Showcase - Robert Rauschenberg

Roy Lichtenstein
Lichtenstein’s most famous image is arguably Whaam! (1963), one of the earliest known examples of pop art, adapted a comic-book panel from a 1962 issue of DC Comics’ All-American Men of War. The painting depicts a fighter aircraft firing a rocket into an enemy plane, with a red-and-yellow explosion. Another famous example is the M-Maybe Girl (1965) which has become an icon for the pop art movement.

Pop Art Showcase - Roy Lichtenstein

Pop Art Showcase - Roy Lichtenstein

Robert Rauschenberg
Rauschenberg is perhaps most famous for his “Combines” of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. While the Combines are both painting and sculpture, Rauschenberg has also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance.

Pop Art Showcase - Robert Rauschenberg

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat gained popularity, first as a graffiti artist in New York City, and then as a successful 1980s-era Neo-expressionist artist. Basquiat’s paintings continue to influence modern day artists and command high prices.

Pop Art Showcase - Robert Rauschenberg

Pop Art Showcase - Robert Rauschenberg

Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns is best known for his painting Flag (1954-55), which he painted after having a dream of the American flag. His work is often described as a ‘Neo-Dadaist’, as opposed to pop art, even though his subject matter often includes images and objects from popular culture. Still, many compilations on pop art include Jasper Johns as a pop artist because of his artistic use of classical iconography.

Pop Art Showcase - Jasper Johns

Pop Art Showcase - Jasper Johns

Pop Art Showcase - Jasper Johns

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was a central figure in the pop art movement. His early paintings show images taken from cartoons and advertisements, hand-painted with paint drips. Those drips emulated the style of successful abstract expressionists (such as Robert Rauschenberg). Eventually, Warhol pared his image vocabulary down to the icon itself—to brand names, celebrities, dollar signs—and removed all traces of the artist’s “hand” in the production of his paintings.

Pop Art Showcase - Andy Warhol

Pop Art Showcase - Andy Warhol

Pop Art Showcase - Andy Warhol

Keith Haring
An artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Haring’s imagery has become a universally recognized visual language of the 20th century.

Pop Art Showcase - Keith Haring

Pop Art Showcase - Keith Haring

Peter Blake
During the late 1950s, Peter Blake became one of the best known British pop artists. His paintings from this time included imagery from advertisements, music hall entertainment, and wrestlers, often including collaged elements. On the Balcony (1955-57) is a significant early work and still stands as one of the iconic pieces of British Pop Art, showing Blake’s interest in combining images from pop culture with fine art. The work, which appear to be a collage but is in fact wholly painted, shows, among other things, a boy holding Edouard Manet’s The Balcony, badges and magazines. It was inspired by a painting by Honoré Sharrer depicting workers holding famous paintings.

Pop Art Showcase - Peter Blake

Peter Phillips
An English artist who is one of the pioneers of the Pop Art movement. Philips’s work ranges from oils on canvas to multi-media compositions and collages to sculptures and architecture. His most popular painting For Men Only – Starring MM and BB (1961) is created using oil, wood and collage on canvas.

Pop Art Showcase - Peter Phillips

Tom Wesselmann
Different from other pop art artists, Tom Wesselmann specialized in found art collages. Wesselmann started working on a series of Still Lifes, continuing the use of collage but incorporating real objects: he picked up shelves, television sets, a refrigerator wherever he happened to find them, and turned them into new assemblages.

Pop Art Showcase - Tom Wesselmann

Pop Art Showcase - Tom Wesselmann

Wayne Thiebaud
Thiebaud is an American painter whose most famous works are of cakes, pastries, boots, toilets, toys and lipsticks. He is associated with the Pop art movement because of his interest in objects of mass culture, however, his works, executed during the 50s and 60s, slightly predate the works of the classic pop artists. Thiebaud uses heavy pigment and exaggerated colors to depict his subjects, and the well-defined shadows characteristic of advertisements are almost always included in his work.

Pop Art Showcase - Dia De Los Muertos!

Pop Art Showcase - Dia De Los Muertos!

David Hockney
David Hockney is best known from his swimming pool paintings from 1967-1968 (below: A Bigger Splash (1967)). An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.

Pop Art Showcase - David Hockney

Robert Indiana
Robert Indiana was using distinctive imagery drawing on commercial art approaches blended with existentialism, that gradually moved toward what Indiana calls “sculptural poems”. Indiana’s work often consists of bold, simple, iconic images, especially numbers and short words like “EAT”, “HUG”, and “LOVE”. One of the best known works by Indiana is Love Rising (1968) displayed below.

Pop Art Showcase - David Hockney

Showcase of modern pop art artists

Kevin Cherry
Kevin Cherry’s collages resembles the work of the artists of the 60s, however, it is often taken to the next level as digital art is often also embedded in his work.

Pop Art Showcase - G450

Pop Art Showcase - G450

Pop Art Showcase - G450

Pop Art Showcase - G450

Mario Luis
35th Street Series.

Pop Art Showcase - Mario Luis

Pop Art Showcase - Mario Luis

Mark Malazarte
Dia De Los Muertos!

Pop Art Showcase - Dia De Los Muertos!

David Habben

Pop Art Showcase - David Habben

Pop Art Showcase - David Habben

Luis Toledo
Serie Mnenósine.

Pop Art Showcase - Luis Toledo

Pop Art Showcase - Luis Toledo

Travis Stearns
Daily Visual Language.

Pop Art Showcase - Travis Stearns

Rodolfo Biglie
This is not freedom.

Pop Art Showcase - Rodolfo Biglie

Sung-Ho Bae
The winner of Adobe – Education:2007 Adobe Design Achievement Awards. Title: Nine inverse proportion problems we have.

Pop Art Showcase - Sung-Ho Bae

Coke Doggy

Pop Art Showcase - Coke Doggy

Dave Kinsey

Pop Art Showcase - Dave Kinsey

Unknown artist 1
Please let us know the name of the artist in the comments!

Pop Art Showcase - Fuel

Eduardo Recife
Misprinted Type.

Pop Art Showcase - Eduardo Recife

Pop Art Showcase - Eduardo Recife

Unknown artist 2
Please let us know the name of the artist in the comments!

Pop Art Showcase - Portfolio

Mario Wagner

Pop Art Showcase - Mario Wagner

Pop Art Showcase - Mario Wagner

Richard Mia

Pop Art Showcase - Richard Mia

Pop Art Showcase - Richard Mia

Pop Art Showcase - Richard Mia

Pop Art Showcase - Richard Mia

Pop Art Showcase - Richard Mia

Brad Yeo

Pop Art Showcase - Brad Yeo

Pop Art Showcase - Brad Yeo

Pop Art Showcase - Brad Yeo

Unknown artist 3
Please let us know the name of the artist in the comments!

Pop Art Showcase - Illustrator

Unknown artist 4
Please let us know the name of the artist in the comments!

Pop Art Showcase - Collage

Fabienne Chemin

Pop Art Showcase - Fabienne Chemin

Pop Art Showcase - Fabienne Chemin

Collage Love Blog

Pop Art Showcase - Collage Love Blog

Pop Art Showcase - Collage Love Blog

Sara Fanelli

Pop Art Showcase - Sara Fanelli

Pop Art Showcase - Sara Fanelli

decor8

Pop Art Showcase - decor8

Mari Coan

Pop Art Showcase - Mari Coan

Marie C. Cudraz

Pop Art Showcase - Marie C. Cudraz

Sean Ryan Cooley
Hello My Generation Is…

Pop Art Showcase - Sean Ryan Cooley

Pop Art Showcase - Sean Ryan Cooley

Juan Carlos Federico
Restatos 1.

Pop Art Showcase - Juan Carlos Federico

Pop Art Showcase - Juan Carlos Federico

Thiago Santana

Pop Art Showcase - Thiago Santana

Mary Bogdan

Pop Art Showcase - MarilynMonroe... JackieKennedy

Futuro Woman
The Drug War. “I’ve recently acquired some pretty amazing vintage ephemera. It’s all so incredible that I am loathe to actually cut or glue it. Thus, this is a collage made using scanner photography–I arranged the pieces using the scanner bed as my canvas, then took the photo with the scanner. Now the paper is all back in its box, awaiting another moment of adoration.”

Pop Art Showcase - The Drug War

Sleep Tight
This piece is set to go to Hamburg Germany for the show “Don’t Wake Daddy II” in December. Created by Jason Limon.

Pop Art Showcase - Sleep Tight

Some Day A Real Rain Will Come…
Sclater Street, London.

Pop Art Showcase - Some Day A Real Rain Will Come...

Pop Art Showcase - Some Day A Real Rain Will Come...

Sources and Resources

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1
  2. 2

    Smashing Magazine again lives up to its high quality standards! Excellent post! Keep smashing!!!

    -1
  3. 3

    Enjoyed this collection, particularly the style of Kevin Cherry, nice stuff.

    2
  4. 4

    I don’t get pop art.
    It’s dirty (by means: messy), the color’s are ugly and i never ever will put a picture with pop art on any of my walls.
    Pop art really is the only art direction i don’t like.

    -11
  5. 5

    Besides enjoying the collection I wonder – did you have any copyright issues in posting all that artwork here?

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  6. 6

    Ah… a new post finally. Good stuff…

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  7. 7

    cameronqueen.com

    July 21, 2008 3:41 am

    Some great stuff here. I’m not a pop-art fan per se, but I think there is definately inspiration to be had here.

    Just look at some of the less ‘messy’ pieces, there are influences and trends hiding in there which we are expereincing in our design world now, or have in the last half century. Love it or hate it, Pop Art continues to be hugely influential.. just like Smashing Mag, keep up the good work in broadening our mindset!

    -2
  8. 8

    Very nice recap of an era of the modern art history!

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  9. 9

    Good Images, but i must say that two artists, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, are not from the Pop movement. They are pre-pop, and influenced the movement, but did not make part of it, mainly because of their themes for works… Tottaly different.
    But, the others, very good! Thanks!

    -1
  10. 10

    yay!
    great post!

    1
  11. 11

    Hmm I agree Pop art is certainly not my flavour. But to each there own.

    -1
  12. 12

    once again great post.

    2
  13. 13

    POP has not died, POP lives
    QuintoH

    2
  14. 14

    David Habben’s work is interesting!

    Niki Brown Niki Brown

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  15. 15

    bravo et merci ! j’adore !

    1
  16. 16

    I love pop art! Thanks for the great collection.
    Still one of my favourites is Keith Haring – I like his work very much!

    1
  17. 17

    I think the Unknown artist 3 is Tim Marrs because the picture looks very similar than hes work.

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  19. 19

    Unknown Artist #2 is Sean McCabe

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    Moritz Feierabend

    July 21, 2008 6:37 am

    Very nice selection !!

    1
  21. 21

    Lovely art-Big fan of Andy Warhol myself.

    4
  22. 22

    Damn good! I love this style!!!! WOW WOW WOW!!!

    1
  23. 23

    Excellent. I did something similar to the very last one on my kitchen wall .

    1
  24. 24

    Awesome! (Shouldn’t it be titled Classics and Contemporary Artworks?)

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  25. 25

    You guys are beautiful, keep it coming, long live Smashing Magazine!

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  26. 26

    Nice collection! :-)

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  27. 27

    I LOVED this post!
    Keep it up!

    -1
  28. 28

    Besides enjoying the collection I wonder – did you have any copyright issues in posting all that artwork here?

    Yes, listing a bunch of artists and their work to a large design audience, for free, with small, screen sized, JPEG compressed thumbnails is such an awful ethics violation that I feel like vomiting.

    -3
  29. 29

    You should stop posting crap like this – pop art, vintage and retro is boring and uninspiring. Sometimes I really think that you’ve run out of ideas? Stop this crap, please.

    -12
  30. 30

    Good review, although I’m a little surprised Banksy didn’t make your list of currently working pop artists. “His” strong iconic imagery and social commentary definitely puts him in league with the others on this list, and you did include at least one other street artist.

    2
  31. 31

    if you need high resolution, rights cleared, images of pop and contemporary art you can browse Photoservice Electa, an italian based image agency specialized in art (yes, that’s pay stuff).

    -4
  32. 32

    Amazing minds! Thanks!

    1
  33. 33

    I’m not really a huge fan of it, it just looks bleh. But I guess theres some cool pop art.

    -2
  34. 34

    Excellent collection I would only add Ben Frost to the modern Pop artists. He’s stuff is incredible. You can check it out at http://benfrostisdead.com/

    -1
  35. 35

    I think Smashing Team must add Yves Klein. He is also a great artist Pop Art

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  36. 36

    unknown artist one is none other then Pietari Posti

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  37. 37

    Very nice selection indeed, thank you for posting such vast showcases.
    But looking at some of the artworks that qualified to enter your modern pop art artists, I thought Stanley Donwood – the radiohead cd covers guy – would fit nicely in, wouldn’t he ?

    -2
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  39. 39

    It’s kind of cruel to compare some of the more famous pop art pieces with this collection of modern “pop art.” Although I can appreciate some of the modern pieces they are not part of the initial movement and moment in time – part of the beauty is the originality of the movement. Creating a collage that looks like a Warhol or Lichtenstein doesn’t cut it – you need an original approach. Pop art is about taking the ordinary and putting a spin on it; therefore unique.

    -3
  40. 40

    Its interesting to speculate which of these are pop-’art’ and which are pop-’design’ – Lovely collection

    -2
  41. 41

    Excellent collection, SM! I

    -2
  42. 42

    thanks for showing one of my illustrations

    -1
  43. 43

    thanks for including my “Dia de los Muertos” piece in your pop art retrospective! it’s an honor

    -3
  44. 44

    Articolo impressionante! Complimenti!
    Awesome post! Congratulations!

    -2
  45. 45

    I love Pop Art and this is an excellent collection of artists. I think there were others that were missed like James Rosenquist, Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg , a master sculptor. I was never really a fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Another 20th century artist might be Romeo Britto.

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  46. 46

    Pop Arts are great ! Thanks SM for this article.

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  47. 47

    Michael [Boicozine]

    July 23, 2008 6:07 am

    I love Smashing magazine and read it all the time. It seems to get better and better, but then every once in a while you slide back down the ladder again. If you are going to talk about ‘Pop Art’ you can’t then drop in a bunch of mucky collaged shite in the name of ‘grunge’ (a term that was dreamt up by marketing executives trying to get a handle on selling the noise created by a band called ‘Mudhoney’). The original idea behind Pop Art was to take the commercial world and shine all those ideas and concept back at it. Please read up on Andy Warhol and the Factory and the many ideas behind what was going on at the time before mooshing together another lumpen mess like the collection you have here.

    -3
  48. 48

    I really like Pop Art ! Thank, this is really a nice collection !

    1
  49. 49

    Nice to see coverage of contemporary art in Smashing. As a Artist and Software professional I really appreciate it.

    Have a few objections one of which is that Wayne Thiebaud may have some issues with you associating him with Pop Art no matter what wikipedia says:

    0
  50. 50

    Wow! What a great, great post.

    I’m faminilar with most classic pop artsts, and it’s always cool seeing their works. But I didn’t know any of the modern examples, and it was great seeing them side by side with older works.

    Thanks for an awesome post!

    -2
  51. 51

    nice collection

    -1
  52. 52

    Hmmm how about some bansky ?

    -1
  53. 53

    Love this article – great stuff. Just saw this artist earlier who’s doing some modern day pop art work: http://www.brooklynartproject.com/photo/photo/show?id=668279%3APhoto%3A88015

    -3
  54. 54

    Mel Ramos is missing…

    -2
  55. 55

    I love this post… I am currently working on a collage and was totally inspired by these examples! It was exactly the kind of art i was in the mood for seeing! thanks!

    -1
  56. 56

    Someone who is not on the list that could be considered is the ex frontman of Guided by Voices. Robert Pollard’s collages have been getting more and more attention in the art world as of late. He might not be good enough for the elite crowd, however the pricing on them is very economical for any new collector.

    -2
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    Joris Hoogendoorn

    August 8, 2008 3:56 am

    We (Locografix & The Vector Monkeys) used popart as big inspiration for our contribution for GreyTones 2005: http://www.thevectormonkeys.nl/?p=32

    -2
  58. 58

    Wow, I am honored that you included my “Drug War” collage in this incredible mix! thank you!

    -2
  59. 59

    Where is Steve Kaufman on this list? He is the most popular living pop artist in the world today.

    -1
  60. 60

    Hi, My name is jony. I live in Bangladesh. Actually i am study in Fashion Design in Shanto Mariam University of Creative Technology. This Pop Art is very Beautiful. Really I am impressed.

    -3
  61. 61

    if you don’t enjoy this pop art you don’t have a soul.

    1
  62. 62

    Great article, i really love Juan Carlos Federico’s stuff. Steve Leonard is one to look out for, just been looking at some of his work in Manchester.

    -1
  63. 63

    currently my work has taken me down the pop art movement, and i feel it has been a total inspiration for my work, particulary kevin cherry his use of digital art within his pieces is great. i just hope people like how i have chosen to apply it. :D

    1
  64. 64

    Gotta love this collection! Very capturing!

    3
  65. 65

    Wow, this was great! Thanks! Great article!

    1
  66. 66

    This is a great place for students to learn and observe. Thanks!

    3
  67. 67

    Great list with good representative images. You should also check out the work of 3d pop artist Charles Fazzino at http://www.fazzino.com/

    0
  68. 68

    Very interesting collection. I like it! Sums it all up very well.

    1
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    Taylor Stefanovicz

    September 10, 2010 6:10 am

    um. greynor. why are you looking at pop art then.

    -1
  70. 70

    Amazing. BEST WISHES .

    thanking you,
    Aarthiee.

    0
  71. 71

    thanks for the inspiration :)

    2
  72. 72

    This inspires me to fulfill my plans someday i will be an artist

    0
  73. 73

    the art amazing fur monicana asweelll

    -1
  74. 74

    Hey

    Thanks for a great post!!! I love the images, I also found another Brazilian Pop Artist ceresfaction.com I’m seeing some andy warhol influence in there.

    Well done Smashing magazine!!!!

    1
  75. 75

    nice recopilation!!! what about yayoi kusama?? shes an pop art japanesse artist of the 80′s…
    good work keep smashing!!!!

    1
  76. 76

    nice post, love it! Thanks!

    1
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    Charles Fazzino

    March 15, 2013 7:34 pm

    Pop art luckily is being taken seriously as sports art investment as mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Also NFL has been using pop art to celebrate the Super Bowl for many many years.

    Then you add the advertising industry that has used the talent of many famous pop artists.

    With over 30 years in the pop art industry, the recognition of the major art world and online world is a definite highlight.

    0

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