“It was hard to get a painting that was despicable enough so that no one would hang it–everybody was hanging everything. It was almost acceptable to hang a dripping paint rag, everybody was accustomed to this. The one thing everyone hated was commercial art; apparently they didn’t hate that enough, either.”–Roy Lichtenstein, 1963
Roy Lichtenstein began producing Pop Art paintings–based on the imagery of consumerism and popular culture–in the early 1960s, and he is most often associated with paintings and prints based on comic strips. When once asked how he selected his images, the artist explained, “I go through comic books looking for material which seems to hold possibilities for painting, both in its visual impact and the impact of its written message. I try to take messages which are kind of universal … completely meaningless or so involved that they become ludicrous.”
Although not based on an actual comic-book image, Artist’s Studio No. 1 (Look Mickey) is stylistically similar to Lichtenstein’s cartoon translations. Following a centuries-old tradition in Western art in which artists use their own studios as subject matter, he depicts his artistic environment and acknowledges his accomplishment as an artist by including examples of his pioneering works such as Look Mickey (1961) and Couch (1961). However, unlike other more traditional representations of artists’ studios, Lichtenstein satirizes his own work by painting the space in the impersonal comic-strip style that made him famous.