lichtenstein…or, dude, you smell

Today in art class we got dotty with Lichtenstein. Actually, we got “Ben-Day Dotty” with Lichtenstein’s comic pop art! We learned all about Lichtenstein’s role in the pop art movement, his comic-inspired artwork and how he got started in the art business.  A few fun facts about Mr. Roy Lichtenstein:

  • Lichtenstein used a pointillism-like technique (just like Seurat!) of dotting his artwork called “Ben-Day dots”, named for illustrator and printer, Mr. Benjamin Day
  • Lichtenstein’s famous Mickey Mouse piece was created after one of his sons pointed to a comic book of Mickey Mouse and said, “I bet you can’t paint as good as that, eh Dad?”
  • Lichtenstein’s entire first collection was sold even before the show opened
  • Comic book author Art Spiegelman once said that “Lichtenstein did for comics what Andy Warhol did for soup.”

Today we talked a lot about comic book art and pop art. We discussed speech and thought bubbles and how they can elevate the emotions in a piece of artwork. We looked at a variety of different pieces by Lichtenstein (including “Crying Girl” which sold for a whopping $42 million!) and talked about his use of Ben-Day dots. I created black-and-white versions of Lichtenstein’s most famous pop art and each child was given their choice of piece. They were tasked with “dotting in” the pieces with colored pens (an arduous task to say the least) and then filling in the speech or thought bubbles with their own sentiments, as long as they fit within the theme of the piece. It’s amazing what the children came up with!

We had “the tearful break-up”..

We had Donald Duck feelin’ the breeze…

And we had something rather stinky in the car…

Here are a few things you can do at home to further your children’s interest in Lichtenstein…

  • The New Yorker offers a weekly caption contest at the back of the magazine in which a cartoonist has drawn a comic and then entrants are asked to submit their own caption. While some of the comics have adults themes, lots of them are perfect for little ones to get involved! Check out the contest at:
  • For a fun movie night, rent Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and see if you can spot Lichtenstein’s painting come to life!

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