My future art teachers have been inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s larger than life sculptures since we visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and came face-to-face with the 19-foot-tall shuttlecocks.
Claes Oldenburg is just one of the artists that began the Pop Art movement in New York in the 1950s. Other Pop Art artists include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Keith Haring, and others some still working today. The “pop” in Pop Art stands for mass media and popular culture, and from this, artists would take popular everyday items and reproduce them, think Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962.
Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962 (Image courtesy of MOMA)
My class was asked to bring in their favorite chip or candy bag from a vending machine, and together we recreated these bags in papier-mache at least twice their original size.
You will need a large piece of newspaper that is folded. Keep the fold in the paper and with masking tape, tape two sides creating a bag or in class, we referred to it as a pillowcase. After you have your pillow case, ball up other pieces of newspaper or any recyclable paper and stuff you bag as full as you would like it, mimicking the original. Once you have your bag stuffed, tape the open end and begin to papier-mache your bag. This will take several coats of papier-mache, and we took two classes to do both sides.
Once your bag is dried from the papier-mache, I recommend painting your bag with a white primer (Gesso) to make it a little stiffer and to begin with a clean white surface. Students started drawing every detail on their bag before painting. Class conversations revolved around fonts, color choices, and spacing.
The class noticed new details such as backgrounds had stripes instead of being a solid color (Funyuns) the first ingredient listed is “Smiles” (Goldfish) and everything looks like it was designed and placed on purpose. “This process makes you pay attention to the details and that each thing has been designed by an artist” stated a student.
Here are some finished pictures of the Pop Art Bags.
I teach future art teachers at Emporia State University. Here is what is going on in my classes.