Pop artist Charlotte Church turned into pop art

Singer Charlotte Church has been busy carving out a career in pop music, and has now been turned into pop art.
Cardiff artists Adam Clarke and David Robinson had no idea if the mother-of-two would approve of their stylised black and white portrait of her.
But the singer said: "I can't believe how life-like it is - the artist has really caught my mood."
The canvas now hangs in the breakfast room of her mother's hotel.
"I really love the pop art picture and art is definitely something I would love to get into when I'm older," said the 24-year-old.
"And Mum's guesthouse may not be the Louvre. but it's a bit of a gallery to me, I'm afraid."
The pop art portrait is one of many dotted about the Cardiff business run by Church's mother Maria and stepfather James.
The B&B is named the Dexby Townhouse after the singer's children with her former partner, the rugby star Gavin Henson, Ruby, three, and two-year-old Dexter.
Church added: "Most of the art in my house is what the children have done. Ruby is a good little artist and Dexter mainly paints himself.
Most of the art in my house is what the children have done... Ruby is a good little artist and Dexter mainly paints himself”
End Quote Charlotte Church
"I have one other portrait from an American artist which was a gift when I was younger."
Mrs Church, 45, who opened the hotel last year, added: "We are so proud of everything that Charl does and have all her album awards and pictures on the wall.
"It's a great talking point for all our guests and she always looks pretty as a picture."
The portrait is the brainchild of a new company called Pop Art Wales.
Owner Adam Clarke said: "It was a pleasure to do Charlotte's portrait. She is now the first of a series we will be putting together on Welsh greats."
The artists said they were hoping to repeat their success with a portrait of Pontypridd-born singer Sir Tom Jones.
They said they plan on choosing a new celebrity to portray once a month.
The friends have set up a website and group to help aspiring artists get their work publicised and exhibited.
Pop art first developed on either side of the Atlantic in the 1950s when artists drew inspiration from sources in popular and commercial culture, such as Hollywood movie stars, pop stars, advertising and packaging.
Among its leading exponents were Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

The Panda Appropriations

Art history is, of course, full of referencing, echoing, quoting, and flat out copying. From the Renaissance artists who fished symbols and stories from a community pool to pop artists who fished in a pool of brand recognition, and onward to the appropriation artists we know today, who lift images from one work and place them in their own. Mimicry has become, by now, so ubiquitous that it would be hard to say who is, or is not, doing it. Derivative use ranges from very subtle (the moody "stills" of Cindy Sherman echoing Alfred Hitchcock's movies) to deliberately heavy-handed (the lurid often near re-staging of Sherman's works rendered by Alex Prager) and onward, to unapologetic piracy (the tracing and stencils of street artists).
So what dictates proper or improper use of someone else's art?
As I have mentioned before, the question seems to call up issues that move in and out of three categories: ethics, aesthetics, and law.

Appropriation Ethics: Who's Getting Paid for Who's Work
A former art director at OgilvyOne (a subdivision of Ogilvy & Mather) AJ Dimarucot used to design websites for O&M clients. But, in 2007, prompted by the desire to fund his upcoming wedding, he started freelancing on the side. After a few months, Dimarucot realized that his freelance dollars added up to more than his full-time pay. And since he was working for US-based clients, the dollar exchange was in his favor. So, in January 2008 he left OgilvyOne in order to focus on a freelance career:

"That's when I started to design more t-shirts and joined t-shirt contests. To me, the t-shirt had a finality that websites didn't have. It was 'finished' once it was printed. Whereas websites were a never ending twist of updates, revamps, changes, etc., and I got burnt out as an artist. The t-shirt became my canvas to express my art freely. So if I didn't get married, I wouldn't have started freelancing and discovered that side of my creativity."
Often we think about copyright as a way of owning, keeping, and selling ideas. This is why, when Gavin Brown says, ""I don't believe in the ownership of ideas or creativity," we scratch our heads and wonder why such a notion would cause any upset. It sounds lovely, communal, and has the added attraction of sounding radical.
But when you examine the investment that individuals like AJ Dimarucot put into their work, you become less likely to think of the products of their labor as "ideas" or "creativity," in the abstract, and more likely to recognize them as something concrete: they are created objects.
Lisa Shaftel, National Advocacy Committee Chair of the Graphic Artists Guild argues, "Copyright does not protect ideas. Copyright protects original works 'fixed in a tangible medium.'"
The way Lisa Shaftel sees it, "We are all free to think and to exchange ideas. However, we don't have the freedom to steal work from the people who produce it."
The ethical issue is just this, in a nutshell: If you take my artwork and sell it, you get paid for my artwork and everything I put into it, including my time and my effort.
This hurts all the more, Dimarucot explains:
"If [Pruitt] sells the panda painting for the [rumored] $95,000, I'd feel bad because I try to support a family with my art and this is a slap in the face. My art sells for peanuts compared to what he sells his art for. Threadless would probably have to sell a million t-shirts for me to get anywhere close to that amount."
In brief, Pruitt is getting paid thousands of dollars more for Dimarucot's work than Dimarucot is.
Meantime, Dimarucot's co-designer, Jimi Benedict, who has voiced nothing but extreme apathy thus far, feels quite differently:
"I already got paid and will continue to get paid for the design, provided it sells. Ain't no skin off my back if homes wants to try to profit off the painting he created. It probably helps to gain the shirt a little more publicity from all the brouhaha. Art is the business of hype, and a little bit of skill... mostly hype."

Appropriation Aesthetics
"I'm ok with appropriation," says Dimarucot, "as long as it builds upon the original context of the piece being appropriated (e.g. Warhol's soup cans). In Rob's case, I just don't see anything new with his work.
Immediately after the Threadless/Pruitt Panda story broke (as it were) the direction that criticism took was about whether or not Pruitt made the right creative decision in using the Threadless t-shirt graphic. In using a graphic that had no amassed cultural meaning, it was thought that perhaps he brought nothing in the line of social commentary or insight to the work. Was it an impoverished choice?
Said Paddy Johnson of ArtFagCity, "Appropriation without credit tends to be a little more morally acceptable when it moves upward not just because of class norms, but for the recognizability of those images."
Johnson's speculation echoes the thought of Jake Nickell, Founder and CSO for Threadless who says:
"I personally appreciate pop art that appropriates work from well known sources but don't think that [When Pandas Attack] is nearly ubiquitous enough to be used in that form.  When you take something obscure and pass it off as your own, I don't think that's a very respectable or interesting thing to do."
In Pruitt's defense, though, he wasn't doing anything that he hadn't done before; and no one in the past had any beef with all those other cribbed pandas. Art critic, Michelle Grabner, says, "Pruitt acts as a conduit, shuffling images from mass culture to high art production." One could argue that Pruitt has made a successful career out of generic pop collage. If this was never an issue before, it really needn't be one now.
Indeed, in a separate blog entry Paddy Johnson expressed ambivalence: "Knowing the artists and fields is essential to understanding the dispute: Pruitt's been making panda bear paintings for ten years and freely appropriates found imagery. As Randy Kennedy of the New York Times notes in an email response to Gangnath, a member of the popular t-shirt forum emptees, 'this strategy has a long history in the art world.'"
True dat: after all, Jeff Koon's entire Banality series was comprised of grotesque echoes of vaguely familiar themes taken from all over the kitschosphere. He used obscure photographs to model his sculptures String of Puppies and Ushering in Banality -- and he was sued and lost the cases -- but the art itself was never criticized for failing to call up lofty or resounding references. One could argue, in fact, that points about banality or pop-culture-as-grab bag (in Pruitt's case) are better made through the use of obscure, but representative, images.
It is important to point out that, although Pruitt's panda painting struck many of us as a first, for dipping into un-branded culture, it has actually been the norm for a while. Warhol was sued for his flower paintings way back when, by a relatively unknown photographer. And we all know that Shepard Fairey uses the whole world as if it were a rainy day scissor project. Appropriation has, if you think about it, not been about reference for quite a while. It's more about echoes and sentiments and those are best ladled from the zeitgeist.


Burton Morris

Burton Morris

SINGAPORE.- What better way to start the year then with an exhibition of Burton Morris. In his post-Pop style, Burton Morris boldly projects an enticing mood of happiness, high energy and fun. He chooses one subject per composition to create what he calls “an instant happening” for the viewer. In his paintings, Morris energizes every day images with his unique style so that a steaming coffee cup, a swirling martini and a dancing popcorn box all take on a new life under his paintbrush.

Burton Morris was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the birthplace of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring) in 1964. His forbears were Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann and Red Grooms whose influences can be seen in his work today.

The artist established the Burton Morris Studios in 1990 and his rise to fame began when NBC engaged him to produce artwork for the hit US sitcom, “Friends”, something Burton continued to do for the full 10 year run of the acclaimed worldwide hit show.

This proved to be a stepping stone on to even greater things. Morris has created signature images for the 76th annual Academy Awards (The Oscars), the 38th Montreux Jazz Festival, The Andre Agassi Foundation and the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He was selected by the International Olympic Committee to create 36 original paintings regarding the spirit of the Olympic Games and The International Olympic Museum hosted a one-man exhibition in Lausanne, Switzerland, during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Burton Morris already has an amazing and substantial body of work behind him and his artwork is displayed in galleries and museums around the world. His artwork is also featured in the collections of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Jimmy Carter Center amongst many others. One-man exhibitions include Sotheby’s of Amsterdam, the International Olympic Museum and the Hickory Museum of Art. Morris` artwork has been exhibited in 20 cities and in 8 countries across 3 different continents.

Because of his continued success celebrity owners of Morris’ work include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Roy Disney, Stan Lee, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Keanu Reeves, Donald Trump, Jay Leno and President Sarkozy of France. Among corporate owners, Morris can include the likes of Chanel, Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Rolex, Samsung, Kelloggs, Heinz, Absolut Vodka and Coca Cola.

Burton Morris’ artwork is a must see and must have for any collector of pop art who is looking for the next pop artist to take on the mantle of the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Tata Nano gets pop art cover

NEW DELHI: Street hawkers, road signs and the everyday people adorned the people's car Tata Nano in a pop art imagery wrapper at the ongoing third edition of the India Art Summit here to serve as a metaphor for a rapidly changing India.

Captioned "Stop! Indians Ahead", the project is supported by Singapore-based Suman Aggarwal's Indigo Blue Art and is the brainchild of her co-citizen artist Ketna Patel .

Juxtaposing "high art with contemporary popular culture" in collaboration with SICIS, the Italian art mosaic factory, "Ketna has converted the Tata Nano car into a symbolic 'jewel of the masses'," Aggarwal said.

The art is actually a candid portrayal of the lives of everyday Indians compressed with the country's illustrious past with the rapidly unfolding future.

"A marriage of art and utility, Ketna's idea is to encourage the viewer to make an appraisal of received ideas filtered down to us through our media saturated conditioning and rampant consumer culture," Aggarwal told IANS.

The people's car has been embellished with red and yellow pop coloured mosaics of SICIS' Murano collection in a dose of psychedelia to recall the atmosphere and energy of Indian streets. Using a method similar to that employed by artisans of the Byzantine period, the mosaic artwork on the car has been executed at the SICIS factor in Italy.

Using materials which reflect the growing resurgence of consumerism and globalisation, Patel, through the art, chronicles a changing Asia whilst simultaneously examining issues such as South Asian identity.

The project includes two cars - one for the Indigo Blue Art and the other for Tata. If it may be sold with of course added prices for the artwork, is still under contemplation, Aggarwal said.

The third edition of India's modern and contemporary art fair - India Art Summit, Jan 20-23, includes the largest showcase of international art to be shown in India till date through 34 international galleries. It is being held at Pragati Maidan in the capital.

Some of the works presented at the gala includes the likes of Pablo Picasso , Henri Matisse , Salvador Dali , Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor along with seminal works by Indian modern artists like Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, among others.

Along with the art fair, the four-day affair also boasts of a sculpture park, video lounge, curated art projects, life performances, speaker forums, an art store with a range of other collateral events.