Over the past five decades Pop Art has necessarily evolved alongside of mass media and popular culture. Original artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselman brought art out of stuffy, high-end galleries and made it accessible to everyday Americans. Since then, Pop Art has experienced various waves of popularity. During the 1980’s, a style developed called Neo Pop Art which featured pop icons, animal figures and contained embedded psychological evaluations. Today, three contemporary artists are redefining this art form with vibrant colors, bold outlines and playful themes.
Few realize that before Carlos A. Navarro became a celebrated artist, his original career path was in the corporate world. After years of spending long workdays in what he refers to as “too structured” of an environment, Navarro left the business world to rekindle his passion for art. In 1992 the artist was approached by a family friend who offered him work painting a mural for a hotel on South Beach. Although the job eventually fell through, Navarro had already developed various sketches, and decided to commit them to canvas. This was the humble beginning of what has developed into a phenomenal career. His work is a fusion of traditional Pop Art with Miami, Cuban, and other contemporary influences. His pieces have been featured in the Smithsonian, as well as various exhibitions and festivals.
Tim Rogerson describes his own work as a “jigsaw puzzle of color to form an image.” Long recognized as a rising star in Pop Art, Rogerson is best known for his vibrant and detailed renditions of common Disney characters. This artist attended the prestigious Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. He majored in Illustration, and was awarded the 2003 Best Artist Award, as well as the 2003 and 2004 Best of Ringling Award. When recalling his experience at the art school, Rogerson said “I was a very traditional art student and explored all the works from the old masters to modern art.” Since graduating in 2004, Rogerson has contributed his artistic abilities everywhere from SS Designs to Disney. His style has been called prolific and inimitable. He is now considered one of the best Pop Art artists in the world.
Romero Britto began his career in Recife, Brazil. He grew up among eight brothers and sisters and had an extremely humble childhood. However, his innate creativity allowed him to fill his life with vibrant colors and images. Many of Britto’s first projects are little known, but led to his discovery and notable mark on the art world. He is a pop culture phenomenon who’s depiction of exultant and joyous figures have brought smiles to the faces of millions. When questioned about his inspiration for his work, Britto replied “I believe that every human being should try to do good for someone else. There are so many different ways to do it. My art can be an instrument for helping people… What a good feeling – that I can do that with my art…” He is one of the most iconic Pop Art artists of the past decade.
Together, Romero Britto, Carlos A. Navarro, and Tim Rogerson are forging a new style of Pop Art. They have definitively broken with the Pop Art of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Wesselman, and have instead created a more contemporary and widely attractive identity. However, they have preserved the original intent of making art more available to the masses. These artists have blurred the line between art and retail design, as they have licensed gift collections, house wares and jewelry. Their use of sharply contrasting colors and playful themes has garnered public adoration, while demanding the respect of the high-end art world.