Our artist for this Studio Sunday is Roy Lichtenstein. Born in Manhattan, New York, in 1923, Lichtenstein is best known as a painter, and as part of the pop-art movement of the 1960’s. Lichtenstein’s works reference the popular medium of comic books, as well as advertisements from the era.
These artworks were far from simples copies of comic-book pages, however. Lichtenstein’s work looked critically at the industrial and societal issues of America in the 60’s, using a humorous, often sarcastic tone. Most notably, Lichtenstein appropriated the comic-book colouring style of Ben-Day dots – that is, dots in the four primary printing colours (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) placed in a uniform grid over a plane to give the impression of a solid colour. This style appeared in many of Lichtenstien’s paintings, especially those which were references to panels in comic boks.
Lichtenstein's home studio in Greenwich Village, New York (pictured above) had originally been constructed as a metal shop and an adjacent garage before the artist moved into the space in the 1980's. The studio space is vast, with skeletal walls and wood floors. A row of shelves filled with paint supplies, paper and reference materials lines the far wall. It is easy to image the artist creating his comic-book masterpieces in this space. Since his death in 1997, the studio space has been perfectly preserved by the Lichtenstein Foundation.