What is Canadian Pop Art? art made by a Canadian Artist that includes imagery from popular culture.
In order to explain what ‘Canadian Pop Art’ is, we must first look at what Pop Art is and when it began as a movement within the historical context of Art. The ‘Pop Art’ movement began in the United Kingdom and the United States (primarily NYC) during the mid to late 1950’s. The movement challenged the tradition’s of fine art by including imagery from popular or mass culture. This style of art often removed or isolated objects and material by placing them in new contexts and new environments. Most famously, the icon of the Pop Art movement in the US was NYC art star, Andy Warhol. Along with artists Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Robert Indiana and Jasper Johns, the movement exploded the art world and status quo.
What is Canadian Pop Art? well, take the pop art movements begun in the UK and the USA and add a maple leaf in front. Canadian Pop Art is artwork that is inspired by the Pop Art movement, that has taken on it’s own distinctive maple syrup flare and sassy commentary on stereotypical hockey loving Canada. Not to confuse this with ‘Canadian Pop Artists’ which are those of the musician kind, like Justin Bieber. Canada’s Pop Art is made up of visual artists who are painters, sculptors, printmakers and graphic artists.
Canadian Pop Art comes with biting humour and commentary about being Canadian, it blurs the boundaries between ‘high art’ and themes of mythology and classical history. Pop Art as painted by Canada’s pop artists elevates commonplace objects or everyday Canadian life, like Tim Horton’s Coffee or a toque, to the level of high art. Pop Art attracts the viewer with it’s commonplace objects and vivid palettes and asks the viewer to look more intently at everyday life in Canada.
I met with another famous Canadian pop art painter, the ‘King of Canadian Pop Art’ when I flew out to for the Art Toronto annual art fair. Charles Pachter (now in his late 70’s) is undoubtedly Canada’s Andy Warhol and his legacy in and outside of the studio is no doubt ‘iconic’ in every sense of the word. Pachter graciously toured me around his home and shared his studio where I peeked into the inner workings of another famous self-representing Canadian artist.
Developing my commentary on all things Canadian and adding my voice to the Pop Art landscapes of Canadian Art. Whitehot Magazine published this piece written by Andrea Bell, “In her most recent work, Saturley has turned once again to the landscape, never really having left. Her new, visionary paintings collage different, unexpected elements of Canadiana rendered in her characteristic pop aesthetic. They oscillate between a graphic realism used for Canada’s famous mountain peaks or views of forest lakes, and the abstractness of the colorful, even psychedelic backgrounds. The sincerity of their celebration keeps them from tripping over into kitsch. Instead they are otherworldly and transportive, playful and humorous.”
In the bigger sense, on some level, I am engaging everyone in the discussion and appreciation of Art in Canada, and the best way I know how is to poke a little fun at Canada, using our iconography and in turn creating my own brand of Pop Art made in Canada.
Brandy Saturley (a.k.a #ICONICCANUCK)