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The Ultimate Guide To Pop Surrealism [2020]
Dawit Abeza
The Ultimate Guide To Pop Surrealism [2020]

The Ultimate Guide To Pop Surrealism [2020]

Everything you need to know about pop surrealism! 

What is surrealism?

Surrealism was an artistic movement that began in Europe after World War 1, in reaction to the insanity and the brutality of that conflict. The word surreal means beyond real, and the surrealists wanted to make art that was shocking, unorthodox, and something that was against the established art norms at the time. The actual term “pop surrealism” was coined by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in its 1998 exhibit.

Pop Surrealism

Pop Surrealism

So what is pop surrealism art?

Pop surrealism art draws inspiration from street art, skateboarding culture, DIY comics, fantasy art, surrealism, cartoons, hot rod culture, punk rock culture, and psychedelic rock scenes. Pop surrealism has evolved into its own unique art culture, unrestrained by any creative rules. Pop surrealism art at times has a sense of humor and displays a harsh tone of humanity using the social-cultural environment of human beings. Sometimes the humor in the art is joyous and other times naughty. Pop surrealism artworks are usually paintings, however, there are also toys, digital art, and sculptures.

 

Pop Art

How does pop art differ from pop surrealism?

Pop art is a movement that developed in the mid-20th century in which artists included conventional objects such as comic strips, soup cans, newspapers, and more household items into their artwork. Pop art was a descendant of Dada. Dada was a rebellious art movement in the 1920s that exposed the seriousness of modern Parisian art and, more broadly, the political and sociological circumstances that had brought the World War I to Europe. Dada artists were often satirical and nonsensical in nature. The pop art movement intended to crystallize the notion that art can draw from any reference, and there is no bureaucracy of culture to obstruct it.

Origins Of Pop Surrealism

Robert Williams Artist

Who was the founder of pop surrealism? 

Robert Williams is the founder of pop surrealism also known as lowbrow art. Yes, pop surrealism art and lowbrow art are at times interchangeable. Although, there is a debate with some pop surrealists that lowbrow art gets its name due to the region that it originally transpired from which is western California.

Robert Williams was also the founder of Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, a premier art magazine which is dedicated to displaying pop surrealism art and artists. Williams is still a mass advocator of the lowbrow art movement. 

When did pop surrealism or better known as lowbrow art start?

Pop surrealism started in Los Angeles, California in the underground street art culture in the 1970s.

Lowbrow art was born of underground or "street" culture. Lowbrow draws heavily on icons of popular culture, particularly those referred to as "Retro." The tail-end of the Baby Boomers generation will commonly recognize the "Retro" style right away. 

 

The History Of Pop Surrealism

History Of Pop Surrealism

Who where the first pop surrealists?

The first pop surrealist artists were Robert Williams and Gary Panter.

 

Gary Panter

Gary Panter Artist

Gary's paintings occupy a large portion of the pop surrealism scene of the 1980s, during which he designed various sets of puppets for Pee-wee's Playhouse. Furthermore, he illustrated record covers for musical bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and created his own comic output through his own mini-comics. He also contributed various designed to Raw magazine. 

 

The Best Pop Surrealism Galleries

The Sparks Gallery

 The Sparks Gallery

The Sparks Gallery is housed within the historic Sterling Hardware Building in San Diego’s vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, located between Island & Market on Sixth Avenue. Sparks Gallery houses contemporary and lowbrow artwork by artists living in San Diego and Southern CA. The Gallery was awarded the 2015 People in Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse by Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO).

Baton Rouge Gallery

 Baton Rouge Gallery

Baton Rouge Gallery is the center for contemporary and pop surrealism art. Baton Rouge Gallery offers new art exhibitions on a monthly basis featuring local and (occasionally) national artists with opening receptions on the first Wednesday of each month. Baton Rouge Gallery also offers a wealth of cultural programming that brings visitors face-to-face with contemporary lowbrow art from different disciplines, such as, film, poetry, dance, music and much more. 

Gristle Art Gallery

Gristle Art Gallery  

Gristle Art Gallery is located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY. The gallery is dedicated to promoting the best in pop-surreal, lowbrow, contemporary, dark and macabre art.

AFA Gallery

AFA Gallery

AFA Gallery offers a unique collection of original paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from established and emerging artists. The collective artworks are characterized by their figurative styles and rooted in the history of illustration and expressionism. 

The Hive Gallery and Studios 

The Hive Gallery and Studios 

The Hive Gallery and Studios was founded in the Spring of 2005 in Los Angles, California. The Hive Gallery and Studios is a truly unique and vibrant gallery/studio experience. It has a virtual presentation of the 5 featured artists of the month, two full galleries, and 25 working artists. The art featured in the gallery leans toward neo-pop illustrations.

La Luz de Jesus Gallery

La Luz de Jesus Gallery

La Luz de Jesus Gallery is the brainchild of an entrepreneur and art collector Billy Shire, considered primarily responsible for fostering a new school of California art. JUXTAPOZ Magazine dubbed Billy Shire “the Peggy Guggenheim of Lowbrow.” La Luz de Jesus Gallery mainly showcases figurative art, narrative paintings, and unusual sculptures. The exhibitions are post-pop art with content ranging from folk to religion. The gallery’s objective is to bring underground lowbrow art and counter-culture to the masses. Past shows have been groundbreaking, and have exhibited artists: Manuel Ocampo, Joe Coleman, and Robert Williams. 

Affordable Pop Surrealism Paintings 

If you are looking to buy a pop surrealism art piece, at the best possible price look no further. Here at ATX Fine Arts we offer one of the best and affordable pop surrealism artworks. We have free shipping on all orders. And If you don't see something you like, reach out to us (Contact us) and we will paint or draw a lowbrow art masterpiece to your satisfaction. Whether you’re a private collector,  an art lover, set decorator, interior designer, or someone just seeking some art for their home or business you can find it here at ATX Fine Arts.

Lotus Girl by Judah X. Pimentel

Lotus Girl by Judah X. Pimentel

 

Touchness by Judah X. Pimentel

Touchness by Judah X. Pimentel

 

Awoken Heart by Judah X. Pimentel

Awoken Heart by Judah X. Pimentel

 

Mischievous by Judah X. Pimentel

Mischievous by Judah X. Pimentel

 

Look Into My Eyes

Look Into My Eyes Art

 

Knowledge Is Freedom

Knowledge Is Freedom Art

 

The Boy On The Moon

The Boy On The Moon Art

 


The Best Pop Surrealism Artists

Pop-surrealistic artists who are masters at their crafts. Here are the top pop surrealism artists.

  • Robert Williams

Robert Williams 

Robert Williams was a pop surrealist artist who fathered the term “lowbrow” into the fine arts vocabulary, with his groundbreaking book, The Lowbrow Art of Robt. Williams. Williams refers to the current lowbrow art movement as “cartoon-tainted abstract surrealism.” Williams refers to his own work as “Conceptual Realism.” You can learn more about Robert Williams art and his life In his book The Lowbrow Art of Robert Williams. Williams is one of the original pop surrealist artists who is still alive. Williams played a huge component in the west coast outlaw culture. You can learn more about Robert Williams and his career at his website http://robtwilliamsstudio.com/ 

The Lowbrow Art of Robert Williams Paperback by Robert Williams

The Lowbrow Art of Robert Williams

 

Robert Williams Artwork

A White Knuckle Ride For Lucky St. Christopher By Robert Williams

A White Knuckle Ride For Lucky St. Christopher By Robert Williams

Vanity Of The New Poster By Robert Williams

Vanity Of The New Poster By Robert Williams

 

  • Marion Peck

Marion Peck

Marion Peck received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1985, at age 18. Subsequently, she studied at two different MFA programs: Syracuse University in New York and Temple University in Rome. After which she lived in Italy for a few years learning about art. Peck is now famous for her works in Pop surrealism and has exhibited her work in Paris, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Her work has also been used for album covers, such as Waking the Mystics by Portland art rock group Sophe Lux.

Marion Peck Paintings

Home By Marion Peck

Home By Marion Peck

Procession By Marion Peck

Procession By Marion Peck

Water Spirit By Marion Peck

Water Spirit By Marion Peck

 

  • Amy Sol

Amy Sol

Amy Sol is an American artist of Korean ancestry, who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sol paints upon treated wooden boards. Her style combines both narrative and figurative styles. Sol's works are usually portrayed by youthful maidens in dream-like environment or various fantastic beings. 

Amy Sol Lowbrow Art Prints

Eos Oil Painting By Amy Sol

Eos oil painting by Amy Sol 

Wayfaren Oil On Wood By Amy Sol
 Wayfaren oil on wood by Amy Sol 
Embers Oil Painting By Amy Sol
Embers oil painting by Amy Sol
Lei Oil Painting On Paper By Amy Sol

Lei oil painting on paper by Amy Sol

 

  • Greg Simkins

Greg Simkins

Greg Simkins artistic dreams began at age three when he started drawing. Simkins was inspired by cartoon books; at the age of 18 he started doing graffiti under the name “CRAOLA”. Graffiti art overtime provided him with the experience to paint large pop surrealism works. Furthermore, it showed him the 'underground' viewpoint in color theory and considerably strengthened his artistic talents. 

Simkins worked as an illustrator for various clothing firms before going on to the video game business, where he worked on games for Treyarch/Activision such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Spider-Man 2, and Ultimate Spider-Man.

 

Greg "Craola" Simkins Book

Greg "Craola" Simkins

Greg "Craola" Simkins book covers a diverse body of work. Bridging pop surrealism and graffiti art with the skill of a fine art painter. His art is unique and recognizable, blending a wealth of early influences with contemporary pop culture references. 

Greg Simkins Lowbrow Art Paintings & Graffiti Art 

Chief Roller By Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins

Chief Roller by Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins 

Scared Scott By Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins

Scared Scott by Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins 

CRAOLA X SELF By Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins

 CRAOLA X SELF by Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins

You Dropped This By Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins

 You Dropped This by Greg "CRAOLA" Simkins  

  • Audrey Kawasaki

Audrey Kawasaki 

Audrey Kawasaki is a Japanese-American artist, born and raised in Los Angeles, California; where she currently lives and works. Kawasaki grew up reading Japanese manga comics, which inspired her to draw from an early age. Kawasaki’s work contains contrasting themes of innocence and eroticism, conveying the mysterious intrigue of feminine sensuality. Her sharp imagery is painted with precision onto wooden panels, the natural grain adds warmth to her subject matter. 

Audrey Kawasaki lowbrow art prints 

Audrey Kawasaki Art Girl

Audrey Kawasaki Art Girl

Audrey Kawasaki "Repose" Print

Audrey Kawasaki "Repose" Print

Audrey Kawasaki Where I Rest

 Audrey Kawasaki where I rest 

  • Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia creates lowbrow paintings, prints, and sculpture in a mysterious, "spooky" cartoon style. Garcia layers broken fictional images of fairy tales in her works. She is inspired by William Burroughs’ cut-up novels and surrealist cinema, as well as Disney and Fleischer animations. Garcia's pop surrealism artwork has been exhibited internationally and highlighted in various magazines including Juxtapoz, Rolling Stone, and Modern Painter. Her works are incorporated in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum as well as the San Jose Museum of Art. 

Camille Rose Garcia pop surrealism art prints

Melodia Dreams Of Bats By Camille Rose Garcia 

 Melodia Dreams of Bats by Camille Rose Garcia

Ghost Moth Serenade By Camille Rose Garcia 

Ghost Moth Serenade by Camille Rose Garcia

"THE BALLAD OF NEPTUNE" By Camille Rose Garcia

"THE BALLAD OF NEPTUNE" By Camille Rose Garcia

 

  • Gary Baseman

 Gary Baseman

Gary Baseman is an American pop surrealism artist who works in different creative fields: illustration, fine art, toy design, and animation. Baseman is the producer of the Emmy-winning ABC/Disney cartoon series, Teacher's Pet, and the artistic creator of Cranium, a popular award-winning board game. Baseman's aesthetically merges iconic pop art illustrations, pre-and post-war vintage motifs, cross-cultural mythology, and literary stories. He is renowned for his playful and wittily named art creatures, which repeat throughout his collection of works. 

Gary Baseman top selling lowbrow toys and creations. 

Wild Girls Beverly Set Blue By Gary Baseman Vinyl Art Toy

Wild Girls Beverly Set Blue By Gary Baseman Vinyl Art Toy

16GB Toby By Gary Baseman MIMOBOT Designer USB Flash Drive 

16GB Toby by Gary Baseman MIMOBOT Designer USB Flash Drive

Dark Horse By Gary Baseman Coaster Set

Dark Horse by Gary Baseman Coaster Set

 

 

So who is the modern-day Vincent Van Gogh of pop surrealism?

It's Camilla d’Errico, she is one of the best contemporary lowbrow artists of her generation. 

Who is Camilla d’Errico?

She is a painter and manga artist whose client list includes Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Tokyopop, Hasbro, Disney, Sanrio, and Neil Gaiman. Camilla d’Errico individual art characters: Tanpopo and Helmetgirls, are global sensations; and her creative compositions have launched her to the top of  the Pop Surrealism scene. In 2011, she was chosen for both a Joe Shuster Award and the Will Eisner Award–the two most prestigious honors in comics. 

Camilla d’Errico Artwork

Camilla d’Errico Artwork

 

Pop Surrealism Books 

There are several popular pop surrealism books which give insight into the history of lowbrow.

 

Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art by Kirsten Anderson 

Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art by Kirsten Anderson

The book is the first of its kind with a comprehensive survey of the Pop Surrealism/Lowbrow art movement. The book is fantastic, and clearly explains the rise of this art movement.

 

Pop Painting: Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon by Camilla d'Errico

Pop Painting: Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon by Camilla d'Errico

If you want to start drawing and painting in pop surrealism I recommend getting this book. Get ready for a behind-the-scenes look at various painting tools, methods, and get inspired by one of the top artists working in the field of Pop Surrealism.

This book is a manifesto on how to draw pop surrealism and make a living. A best-selling author and artist Camilla d’Errico pulls back the curtains to give you an exclusive insights on pop surrealism topics and tools: paints/brushes and how she uses them. Learn about her ideal studio setup and pop culture icons that fuel the creativity within her and help her create beautiful pop surrealist paintings. This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn how to become a pop surrealist.

 

Weirdo Deluxe: The Wild World of Pop Surrealism & Lowbrow Art by Matt Dukes Jordan

Weirdo Deluxe: The Wild World of Pop Surrealism & Lowbrow Art by Matt Dukes Jordan

Weirdo Deluxe is one of the first pop surrealism/lowbrow books which blends pop culture, street culture, pop art, and surrealism. It includes interviews with 23 leading pop surrealism/lowbrow artists; and hundreds of artworks.

 

Pop Surrealism What a Wonderfool World by Gianluca Marziani

Pop Surrealism What a Wonderfool World by Gianluca Marziani

"Pop Surrealism What a Wonderfool World" is a 96-page hardcover volume with over 75 full-color images from forty of today's leading artists in the Pop Surrealism movement. Inspired by the art exhibits at the Carandente Museum in Spoleto, Italy. The images in the book represent the most influential styles in the new contemporary pop surrealism art scene. 

 

Lowbrow Tarot An Artistic Collaborative Effort in Honor of Tarot Hardcover by Aunia Kahn & Russell J. Moon

Lowbrow Tarot An Artistic Collaborative Effort in Honor of Tarot Hardcover by Aunia Kahn & Russell J. Moon

Renowned Tarot artist, Aunia Kahn, showcases 23 Lowbrow artists who have used their creative artistic abilities to produce 314 new works of art in the Lowbrow Art Movement.

 

Top Lowbrow Art Magazines

Juxtapoz Magazine

Juxtapoz Magazine

Based in San Francisco, California Juxtapoz was founded upon the belief and virtues of Southern California pop culture and the freedom from the conventions of the "established" New York City art world. Juxtapoz magazine was launched with the mission of connecting modern cultural genres like psychedelic art, hot rod art, graffiti art, street art, and illustration.

 

Raw Vision Magazine

Raw Vision Magazine

Raw Vision Magazine was founded by John Maizels in 1989 as a way of telling people about various forms art with small freelance staff and text contributed by scholars. Each issue features artists from different countries, as well as covering general news on the subject of international art. Raw Vision magazine has been described as "outsider art's Rolling Stone" in 2007, as it's a unique international publication whose exclusive pop surrealism content is outsider art. Over the years it has featured several hundred self-taught and visionary artists, many of whom were completely unknown in the USA. 

 

Hi-Fructose Magazine

Hi-Fructose Magazine

Hi-Fructose Magazine Is a quarterly print art magazine, founded by artists, Attaboy, and Annie Owens in 2005. Hi-Fructose focuses squarely on art that transcends trends, assuring readers a thorough coverage and content that is informative and original. Hi-Fructose showcases an amalgamation of new emerging contemporary artists as well distinguished artists; with the main focus on inspiring artists. 

 

Forno Magazine

Forno Magazine

Forno Magazine is an independent, commercial-free chromo magazine dedicated to the art of sex. Each issue presents a different sex aspect through a variety of original images created especially for Forno. The magazine introduces challenging works of art that stimulate the mind rather than other organs. Forno invites artists of all media to participate in Forno by creating one image according to the concept of the issue.

 

Beautiful/Decay Magazine

Beautiful/Decay Magazine

Beautiful Decay Magazine began as a small black and white photocopy business. In 2001, it was resurrected as a full-color art and design publication featuring some of the most cutting edge and exciting work by artists and designers from all over the world.  

 

If you like this article, please share it with others, so perhaps they can also enjoy it. Any of the artwork purchased on ATX Fine Arts accommodates me as an artist, along with helping the site grow organically, thank you very much.

Comments

Lovely11Art

Great article! Keep up the good work! I live in Phoenix and we have a lot of lowbrow and pop surrealism going on here too, but not enough! It’s my favorite genre. You mentioned 3 of my favorite artists and the magazine that got me into it all- Juxtapoz. Someday I hope to hang with the big dogs.


Paolo Pedroni

Good morning, I saw you use my work for the cover of the article

http://www.paolopedroni.com/portfolio/otherside/


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