Beading with the Masters: Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s name is synonymous with Pop Art and the wild art culture of the 1960s. Everybody recognizes his artwork, and most modern art was influenced by his work in some way. He explored artistic expression through pop culture, consumerism, advertising, and celebrity-worship. His much-criticized body of work both glorified and shined a mirror on American market culture.

I’m an art geek and love exploring art history. Learning what inspired artists’ work and tapping into their stories fascinates me. Drawing correlations between notable artists in history and beadwork and beaded jewelry design is my new favorite game of compare and contrast.

If you’re into art history, too, be sure to check my previous article about Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, or read the entire series to get all caught up with what I’ve shared so far!

Andy Warhol

Jam Bracelet, Snap Pop Fizz Bracelet, Memento Mosaic Bracelet, and Peyote Points Bracelet

Pop Art

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh to Slovakian immigrants. Andy Warhol’s work sums up the question that Pop Art poses: What is art? Bright colors and references to modern culture are the key points of Pop Art. Warhol brought modern culture into his work by using brands and popular products.

Incorporating consumer products or images into jewelry is a nod to Pop Art. Anne Perry’s Jam Bracelet turns a simple fruit motif into an out-of-the-ordinary piece of Pop Art jewelry. The Snap Fizz Pop Bracelet by Danielle Fox is Pop Art with soda pop! Soda bottle cap beads are strung with blue glass bottle rondelles to create a playful and modern bracelet. Jeanne Barta Craine’s Memento Mosaic Bracelet uses brightly colored components that you can personalize, for a very Pop Art feel. You could push the Pop Art motif even further by bezeling iconic images such as multi-colored photos of Marilyn Monroe or Campbell’s soup cans. Repeating patterns, especially animal prints, are very Pop Art, even more so when you toss in some color. Julie Glasser’s Peyote Points Bracelet, particularly the blue colorway, is a great example of a Pop Art pattern created by repeating geometric shapes.

Laurel Nathanson

Laurel Nathanson’s Tab Set Pendants

If you love Pop Art and want to get creative using polymer clay and metalsmithing techniques, check out this article featuring Laurel Nathanson’s Tab Set Pendants. Her use of color and Pop Art images are perfect for the Pop Art enthusiast!

Andy Warhol

Painter’s Palette Bracelet, Confetti Spiral Bracelet, Woven Tapestry Cuff, and Color Wheel Necklace

Bright Colors

Bright, often neon colors are one of the main aesthetics of the Pop Art movement. Jewelry as a means of art and expression frequently features bold and daring color exploration, and these Beadwork projects don’t disappoint in the color department:

If you love neon colors, you should definitely check out the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine. It’s so bright and cheerful! However, if you struggle–like me–with incorporating bold color into your wardrobe, this video workshop about using color in art journaling might help you branch out and get comfortable with color. Color theory can cross over into your beadwork and other creative endeavors!

Andy Warhol

Roller Girl Bracelet, Chinese Lanterns Necklace, Free Spirit Bracelet, and Colorplay Bangles

Primary Colors

Looking through the collection of Andy Warhol’s art, as well as other Pop Artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, you’ll notice another color trend: primary colors. Red, yellow, and blue are repeated throughout Pop Art, and you’ll find that same timeless color scheme in a lot of beadwork and jewelry today. If bold, primary colors are right up your alley, you’ll love these four colorful projects:

Want more primary colors? I love the primary colors represented in the Fast & Fabulous Southwest Pattern Pack. This collection features designs that employ rich, vivid colors and natural materials. Are you up for a wireworking challenge? Check out the Totally Twisted eBook, which features loads of happy colors and awesome wireworking techniques. Create sophisticated and gorgeous wire and art glass jewelry with 25 innovative designs, and learn some technique tips and tricks along the way.

While our beadwork may never be as illustrious as Andy Warhol’s work, we can certainly try to incorporate more Pop Art images into our designs–and I’m feeling very inspired! I’m excited to bring some more color into my jewelry wardrobe and pay homage to the Prince of Pop, Andy Warhol.

If you love learning about art while finding some new beading projects, read the entire series of Beading with the Masters!

Meredith Steele
Technical Editor, Beadwork magazine

Featured Image: Right here in Fort Collins at Colorado State University is a piece of Andy Warhol’s art. This soup can replica was created by CSU’s art department in 1981 to Warhol’s specifications; Warhol signed it that year during his visit to the campus.

Create one of these Pop Art-inspired beaded designs today!


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