Art In Movements

The postmodern and pop art movements were instrumental to the current day graphic design trends, from inspiring the use of pop culture images to the very decor detailed in our houses.

Postmodernism evolved from the 1940s-1960s, reaching its influential peak in the 1980s. Postmodernism strove to diverge from the rules and barriers of Modernism, which was littered in idealistic utopian human life. Postmodern art is meant to be an era of no creative barriers, divulging into philosophical truths and questioning reality. Satirical and ironic characteristics can be seen featured within the designs of the post modern art movement, often decorated with bold saturated colours of high contrast. The utilised materials of Postmodernism were usually ‘salvaged’, encapsulating more of a conceptual significance to the works. Sub-genres including performance art, street art, installation art evolved in this movement. Some artists who are often found when exploring the Postmodern era include Jeff Koons and the Guerrilla Girls.

Obama Hope Poster — Shepard Fairey (2008) - FGD1 The Archive - Medium
imgae source

Shepard Fairey is a famous postmodern artist who created a name for himself around propaganda and Constructivism, starting with his sticker stencil “Andre the Giant”. The stickers were found randomly in public, showing how postmodernism delivery has changed into public domain, and cultivated a political stir from his artistic actions. Fairey is greatly known for his political works, and particularly the “Obey” and “Hope” series. He uses a particular colour palette for his propaganda work, for example the Obama Hope artwork uses the tones and colours of the American flag to enhance conceptual composition. He arranges a contrasting alignment of colour, the red and the blue, almost systematically halving the Obama portrait. An additional example is a work of Fairey’s I have seen in Sydney Australia, a reference to his Obey series. Fairey utilises green, dark blue and white to create tone and shadow/highlight to the portrait. He accompanies the girl with alignments of geometric features, Its form almost clustering to the middle to pull in the focus of the artwork to the words ‘OBEY’. 

Meanwhile, as a somewhat ‘off-spring’ from Postmodernism, Pop Art became abundant in Britain and the USA around the 1950s; as a rebound off of Abstract Expressionism. Pop Art was driven and derived around tones of rebellion, diversity, fun/loud atmospheres within the lens of a retro futuristic lifestyle. Pop Art often entailed pop culture references and the valorisation of everyday mundane objects. These artworks often served as decor in interior design with large scales, flashy/glossy materials and bright colours. 

Roy Lichtenstein's Crying Girl - Guy Hepner | Art Gallery | Prints ...
image source

Roy Lichtenstein’s art is glittered in the Pop Art work and glorified for its unique saturated pop-culture images. Lichtenstein utilises comic’s as an everyday mundane object and creates them into large-scale artworks, reimbursing the nostalgia of comic-life relief. Lichtenstein also possesses an aesthetic system to his artistic lens, continually using these comic images with bright saturated colours and bold lines. In his works such as “Crying Girl”, tones of blue, red and yellow (primary colours) are repeated amongst his designs. The portrait of the comic women is ‘zoomed in’, minimising the negative space and bleeding around the girl’s face, hair, clothes etc. Sometimes his work is often seen layered or overlapping with small repetitive dots to convey a surge of worn-static aura as a comic is. 

Hart H (2015) Post – “Hope” Poster: Shepard Fairey on Art, Advertising and Propaganda Fast Company

Kovalchenko A (2017) Style At A Glance: Pop Art Lessenziale 

Tate (2017) Postmodernism – Art Term Tate.

Tate (2017) Roy Lichtenstien 1923-1997 Tate.

Obey Giant (2015) Obey Giant – The Art of Shepard Fairey

Outhouse M (2013) The Influence of the Postmodern Graphic Design Genre on Contemporary Graphic Design as Analysed in the Context of Generic Participation Iowa State University 

Rosenburg R (2020) Postmodern Design: What is it and Why is it Popular? NewHouse Source


I have been collecting images for my Ways of Seeing design brief. I am currently experimenting and attempting to create a consistent aesthetic, finding myself inspired by the current graphic design aesthetic in toned faded colours. I have decided against creating obscure, unnatural colours with photoshop (which i had originally intended) but create a consistent light pink faded aesthetic. I have decided to explore this, inspired by Marcel Duchamp that a design needn’t be grand in order to captivate attention. I am attempting to remain within this somewhat natural, but pink tinted fade aesthetic however I have discovered the difficulty in achieving this when the backgrounds of my pictures are difficult colours to work with (e.g. green). I am attempting to remove the green backgrounds where I can (I am not the best skilled in photoshop) and will continue doing so to achieve my own repetitious aesthetic as Roy Lichtenstein and Shepard Fairey have achieved.

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