Andy Warhol: Pop Art Portraits
If you've never heard of Andy Warhol, then you've been missing out on the one of the queerest, most avant garde, most groovy artists of the 60's. He believed that you could elevate something as mundane and common as a soup can and it could turn into something visually interesting. He began to experiment with silk screening, and his celebrity portraits--most notably, Marilyn Monroe--are some his most beloved works. I decided to have some fun with this project, and we embarked on our own Pop Art portrait.
What you'll need:
- Strathmore 9x12 Bristol Smooth Paper
- Liquitex Professional Matte Fluid Medium or Mod Podge Matte Finish
- Craft brushes
- Craft paint
- Paint Tray Palette
Depending on the age and skill level of your students, this project requires some preparation beforehand. Before the students left class for the day, I photographed them individually. With every student's portrait on my laptop, I used the photo editing app Picmonkey to turn them into Pop Art masterpieces by making the images black and white and bumping up the contrast and "posterizing" them, giving them a paint-by-numbers quality.
To see the exact steps I took on Picmonkey, go here: Create your own Pop Art Family Portraits
On Picmonkey, you can create grids (the number of grids is up to you) of each portrait. Print them. Now your portraits for ready for the students to carry on the next step. Each printed portrait now has to be decoupaged onto a piece of Bristol board. Decoupage is basically a gluing technique, and it will prepare the surface for painting.
Once it is dry, students can now paint their Pop Art portraits. Encourage each student to be creative within each grid, using contrasting colors and patterns but following the basic posterized shapes. Each student should be given a palette with 4-5 colors of craft paint in each well. Make sure each student has their own water container as well, it just makes it easier for each student to keep their brushes clean and their paint from getting too muddy.
This is one of my favorite projects because this is a technique that I employ in many of my personal mixed medium paintings. You would not believe some of the stuff the students came up with! Although it involves a good deal of preparation, the results are worth it! Every student was excited to take their portraits home.
The portrait above was created by a seventh grader.