SSL8 Video Transcript

The Zillman Art Museum presents STUDIO SESSIONS: A virtual hands-on-art making lesson with Senior Museum Educator Kat Johnson.

Hello and welcome! My name is Kat, and I’ll be walking you through today’s lesson of STUDIO SESSIONS: Pop Art. Through this process, we will use everyday household items to create a unique piece of art. We will begin with a brief history on Pop Art and its components, go over the materials list, then work through the lesson step-by-step together to create an original pop-inspired piece.

Feel free to pause the video at any time to prepare your materials, set up your work station or stretch your legs! So, what do you say? Let’s make some art!

Pop Art is a movement that emerged in the United Kingdom and United States in the mid to late 1950s. The term ‘Pop’ “referred to commercial, mass-circulation arts (including) photo-advertising, automobile styling, Hollywood films and science fiction… arts which had the same relation to painting, sculpture, theatre and literature that pop music had to the music of the concert hall.” (Compton, 12). Work in this genre functions as fine art (found in galleries or museums) that make use of commercial-art images, styles or techniques.

During mid-20th century, both European as well as American artists shared the experience of American commercial culture through the newly universal explosion of ‘mass media.’ The glamour and power of American society were realized in the commercial art and design that proclaimed the value in a pursuit of money and power. This subject matter was at the forefront of the Pop Art genre which sought to incorporate the whole culture – the glamour as well as the ghastliness – in art, and to rely on the audience to act accordingly.

The formal qualities in work created by Pop Artists shared several similarities. Utilization of centrality, repetition, sheer scale and the use or imitation of ready-made images were prevalent among the works. Techniques of mechanical production were also highlighted or reproduced such as the degraded images produced by coarse screens of newspapers or the lines in a TV screen. This degradation of the image helped to make the detail insignificant as seen in the Lichenstein’s use of the Benday dots, Warhol’s silk screens, and Hamilton’s photographs.  Popular culture as a central focus in art continues today as artists and designers continue the trajectory the Pop Art movement.

For this lesson you will need:

 A photo or image of a pop-culture object

You can pull this from a magazine, print from an image online, or use the actual object as reference for your drawing

Pencil and eraser –

            To create your preliminary drawing

Markers, crayons or paint

            To color in your drawings

Tracing paper or a light source, to reproduce your drawing

If you don’t have tracing paper or a light table, working with the drawing tapped to the window works well

Several sheets of paper –

To create your drawings. Preferably one heavy sheet to use as the foundation of your work, and thinner sheets for copying the image


            To secure your images to the foundation page 

Take a moment to gather the items you need to join in art making

The first thing we need to do is make a drawing of our object. I chose a sneaker as my subject, as they are very popular right now in contemporary culture. This sneaker is incredibly expensive, and highly sought after, so I think it’s a perfect object to represent current consumerism. You can use an image from a magazine, or even draw from the actual object, the choice is up to you. I’ve already done a line drawing in pencil, but need to ink it in with black ink, as this drawing will serve as our base for making several copies. As mentioned earlier, repetition a key component of pop art, so we want to repeat our object over and over. Once you’re satisfied with your final drawing, it’s time to copy it. You can do this one of several ways; You can use tracing paper to copy the image… If you have a printer, like I do, you can copy your drawing and print it in multiples, or if you only have paper, you can tape your drawing to a sunny window, place another blank sheet on top of the drawing, and the light shining through will all you to trace the lines. Whatever method you choose –  be sure to copy your object at least four times.

Here is my drawing copied four objects. The next step is to cut each object out separately. I will be leaving a small white border around my line work, but you can cut it however you choose. Now that I have my objects cut out, we want to make up the background color tiles. Think of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe portraits, a colorful grid of the same image repeated and tiled. I’ll make four tiles out of this paper now, taking care to keep them all the same size, for visual unity. So again, these pieces of paper will be the background for each of cut objects, to be arranged like so. And now we just need to color them! Remember, try to switch up the design and color scheme with each tile and object. This variation will create a dynamic, final image. Great! Now that I have them all colored, I’m going to decide on the arrangement first, then glue them down afterwards. And there you have it! Our Pop Art work inspired by our pop culture object.

Here is my finished work. While you have your supplies out, continue to experiment with the techniques we used today. What objects or images from your everyday life can become the focus of your next piece? Take a closer look at the work of Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Richard Hamilton for research and inspiration and enjoy the world of Pop Art!

For more information on all of the educational offerings at ZAM, please visit our website –

Thank you for watching this video from The Zillman Art Museum… Maine’s Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art.