About This Lesson Plan



Lesson 8: Warhol and Pop Art

Students will recognize that frequently viewed images in repetition, altered in color, have an artistic expression or style.

To have students recognize that frequently viewed images in repetition, altered in color, have an artistic expression or style.

images of the following Warhol paintings: Marilyn, Campbell's Soup Cans; images of several celebrities; black Sharpies, Sharpie color markers or Chroma paints; acetate or overhead projector sheets; construction paper; tag board

1. Have students view the art gallery at warhol.org. Share images of the paintings Marilyn and Campbell's Soup Cans. Ask students to note how the different color palettes of the same image make them feel. How does the change in color affect the image itself?

Discuss if they think Warhol was using color in the same way the Fauvists did. Why or why not?

2. Browse the images of portraits that Warhol created. Have students pick one or two images that they like or dislike and explain why.

3. Have students look at Warhol's self-portraits. Do they see a connection to Picasso's cubist style or multiple views? Does Warhol show an influence of Fauvism in his colored portraits?

4. Teach students a little bit about Andy Warhol's life. Explain that Andy Warhol was a leader in pop art and culture.  He is most famous for his ability to take the simple and common everyday item or image and raise it to fine art.  He took the image of a Campbell's soup can and made it a statement.

He also worked with portraits and the idea of repetition and pattern in composition, creating an interest with composition of everyday items. He used color to almost blur the image, and to draw attention to the subject. He experimented with complementary colors by painting a cow's head purple and placing it on a yellow background to emphasize the cow.

As a noted graphic artist, Warhol had created several ads and marketing campaigns. He knew how to make a graphic work for marketing.

1. Have images of several celebrities on hand. Suggestion: Use images that are in the public domain.

2. Ask students to choose an image they would like to work with or to bring in a photo of themselves that is a head-and-shoulders style portrait.

3. Have students trace the image with a black Sharpie on acetate or overhead projector sheets.  Have them do this four times to create a large square or a long line of the repeated images.

Discuss color theory and the various palettes available.  Require students to use color schemes that are complementary, analogous, split complement and another of their choice (monochromatic, primary, secondary, tertiary, warm, or cool)

4. Have students plan what color goes where, thinking about the effect of, say, a yellow face with orange eyes and green accents. What would the feeling or message for the viewer be? Students should be aware their color choices and placements will elicit a response from the viewer.

5. Have students fill in the acetate or film with Sharpie color markers or Chroma paints, which are used in animation cell paintings.

6. When each tracing is complete, have students choose a color of construction paper or tagboard to frame each work as a mat. Place the clear painted or colored acetate on a white background to show the color. Have students arrange their four tracings in a pleasing composition (square or line), noting how the tracing and mat work next to other color schemes. 

7. Display students' work. Discuss what the repetitive use of the image does to a portrait. Liken this to a sheet of stamps or other repetition of image-how does Warhol's style change the images when the colors are changed?

Ask students the following key questions:

How does the whole collection support the individual image?

How does the individual image support the whole of the grouping?

Why are we as artists using these portraits/faces to make a statement?

What statement is being made by Warhol? By student artists?

1. Have students create silkscreen prints for T-shirts of their portraits

2. You can also tie in these variations for additional projects:

Use images of Greek or Roman Gods and myths for outlines.

Use images of Egyptian gods for outlines.

Note: There are color associations for both Greek/Roman Gods and Egyptian Gods.

Current leaders of today, inventors, heroes, and influential people of the century are other possible themes.

Have students choose an object from their own everyday life and use it instead of a portrait.  Generate a list to share in class (cell phones, flip flops, shoes, hats, iPads). Create digital images or outlines of these objects and adjust the images with Photoshop.

3. Have students work on fashion design projects. For this extension, they should research fashion and pop art.

Begin by viewing Gianni Versace's Evening gown (spring/summer 1991), which can be found on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1993.52.4

Ask students the following key questions:

How does fashion become fine art?

How did Warhol influence other genres of creative expression? 

How does this relate to Picasso and Matisse and their respective styles?

Would you wear clothing like the dress with Marilyn and James Dean on it?

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