Have you ever walked into art galleries, cafes or even bookstores and noticed the bright artworks hanging comfortably on the wall? The slight vintage tint that allows us to depict the era in which the piece comes from, alongside the dark defined edges of the subject matter that makes the artwork ‘pop’, which happens to be the art style’s name.
Pop art was an art movement that emerged in the United Kingdom and the United States during the mid to late 1950s. Despite challenging the traditional fine art through images from popular and mass culture (like advertising, comic books and other normal mass produced items), pop art has since gained popularity and is still largely appreciated today.
Where did pop art originally come from?
Well, pop art originated in North America and Great Britain but were both used for different reasons. In the United States, pop art was used as a response from artists and marked the return of hard-edged compositions as well as representational art. Artists in the United States tend to use impersonal, irony and parody in an effort to “defuse” any personal symbolism. Some well-known pop art artists in the United States include Larry Rivers, Alex Katz and Man Ray.
On the other hand, in Britain, pop art was more academic in which the country focused on the dynamic as well as paradoxical pictures of American pop culture as powerful symbolic devices that would affect the life and prosperity of a particular society. In simpler terms, pop art in Britain were ideas inspired by American pop culture. It was also a way to reject Dadaism, which was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. Among the artists in Europe that were seen producing artworks leading up to pop art include the popular Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.
What did pop art aim to achieve?
According to The Art Story, the pop art movement aimed to blur the boundaries between high art and low culture. This makes one of the most influential characteristics of pop art, that there is no hierarchy of culture and that art can be borrowed from any source. Though through pop art, one may think that the emotions vary from abstract expressionism when in fact, it’s very much similar.
Some say that abstract artworks come from traumas in the soul, and that’s what pop art is as well. The only thing that makes pop art stand out is the fact that pop art artists search for traces of trauma in the mediated world of advertising, cartoons and popular imagery, making a connection and displaying it literally.
At the end of the day, pop art is a straightforward and easily understandable style of art. It’s bright, eye-catching yet something that isn’t exactly easy to create. Many pop art artists are also successful illustrators and designers today, creating fresh and new pop art for magazines, billboards and many other mediums used in the commercial world.
Famous pop art artworks:
#1 Drowning Girl (1963) by Roy Lichtenstein
This oil and magna paint artwork by famous pop art artist Roy Lichtenstein depicts a young woman drowning in a comic-strip styled piece. Surrounded by waves of water and tears flowing out of her eyes, she screams in her mind ““I DONT CARE! I’D RATHER SINK — THAN CALL BRAD FOR HELP!”, clearly seen in her thought bubble. Drowning Girl is part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, USA.
#2 Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) by Andy Warhol
This particular artwork features multiple Campbell soup cans canvases that are lined together. But with a closer look, the viewer will realise that each soup cans are of different flavours. Every canvas is hand-painted and are replicated so uniformly that you wouldn’t be able to tell that they are individually drawn. This piece represents how pop art is used in mass production advertising style.
#3 Marilyn Diptych (1962) by Andy Warhol
Just like his other famous pop art artwork, Marilyn Diptych also features multiple canvases of Marilyn Monroe portraits. Each canvas features the overlapping silkscreen effect in neon and block colours. As seen in the image, one half of the artwork is in colour while the other half is in black and white, with a faded effect as if the printer ran out of ink.
#4 Whaam! (1963) by Roy Lichtenstein
This artwork features two different canvases in which one of the canvas portrays a close up fighter plane shooting another fighter jet that’s further away on the second canvas. A bright splash of colours depicting an explosion engulfs the back of the fighter jet that has been shot, while a comic-strip style “Whaam!” is written on the top left. Inspired by a comic strip from DC Comics’ All-American Men of War, drawn by Irv Novick and published in 1962, this particular artwork is clear and bright.
Virtual art galleries to visit:
As we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, many art galleries have yet to resume operations and international travel is still banned, which means we’re unable to physically appreciate some of the greatest artworks in the world. However, lucky for us, many art galleries are doing virtual tours via Youtube, Google Arts & Culture and through their respective websites too - allowing people around the world to view artworks in all their glory, all while remaining safe at home. Featuring not only pop art but other styles of art as well, check out our specially curated list of virtual art galleries you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
There’s much ado about minimalism of late, especially with the emergence of Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising’ and aesthetically pleasing tiny homes. Evidently, there’s a rich history to the practice of minimalism, dating back thousands of years and across various cultures and religions. Buddhists, for example, tend to shun material possessions and have for thousands of years, while the Danish’s hygge lifestyle, is a Scandinavian term encompassing a feeling of cosiness, contentment and well-being found through cherishing the little things. Then there’s the Japanese minimalism — thousands of years of tradition that have influenced their architecture and interior design and lives.
Slowly but surely, minimalism is seeing a resurgence around the globe. We list everything you need to know about this lifestyle below.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalistic living or lifestyle is pretty self-explanatory; it is essentially intentional living and ridding clutter from all aspects of your life (let’s face it; we have lots of clutter). While it has been practiced for centuries, minimalism didn't become conventional until the 20th century, when writers, photographers, beatniks, architects, and most importantly artists embraced the idea. According to the New York Times, the realm of art spurred the minimalist movement in the world.
Guiding Principles of a Minimalist Lifestyle
One of the main guiding principles of minimalism is not allowing the things or the pursuit of things (like materialism) obstruct what truly matters to you. The best part of being a minimalist is that it doesn’t and shouldn’t cost you a cent. You shouldn’t be buying new things that have a certain minimalistic aesthetic. The best way to get started on this journey is to adapt the KonMari method by Marie Kondo and declutter. What this means is first determining your ideal and simplistic lifestyle. Then, commit to this vision by discarding items in your home that no longer add value or use. After you’re done decluttering, you can then organise what remains. We admit, it’s immensely tempting to want the contemporary and minimalist interior design of Scandinavian or Japanese homes in our own home but that goes against the principles of this lifestyle.
If you’re a beginner in embracing the minimalist lifestyle, it’s ideal to take baby steps and gradually work your way up so that the process doesn’t overwhelm you. Tackle the easy stuff first and save the harder items for later. Use the decluttering process to build your decision muscle and determine what you want and don’t want in your life. Over time, you’ll find yourself getting better at making intentional decisions, hence making intentional living easier.
Minimalism isn’t limited to things you own; it can extend to the projects you undertake, to-do lists, and responsibilities. When you limit distractions and remove the less vital projects, you would have more attention and time to finish the ones that truly matter. By removing the project clutter, you’re removing the distractions that prevent you from finishing anything at all.
Benefits of Minimalism:
Cleaning becomes easier
We have to admit, a messy space is uncomfortable and creates anxiety. It also makes us feel sluggish and unproductive. The fact of the matter is, when you have accumulated superfluous things like your 20th decorative item, cleaning your space takes a ridiculous amount of effort. That’s why you focus so much better in a cafe or library, because there are no personal possessions to tug at your focus. There’s also less pressure and stress to clean when everything is orderly. Remember, the idea of minimalism is to create a haven that is focused on functionality and as simple as possible.
It’s a given when you buy fewer clothes, unnecessary makeup products and go out less, you would find more money on your hands. Spending less on things you don’t really need will increase your savings and result in financial freedom.
A space free of clutter immediately exudes a clean and pleasing aesthetic. You can make use of your existing items such as plants or books to amp up the look of your space. However, if you’re at your wits end in terms of designing, seek inspiration from Pinterest, especially Scandinavian design which features functional beauty with white walls and simple lines.
You’ll Focus Better
According to Peter Walsh (Australian-American organiser), clearing the clutter in your physical space will go a long way toward clearing the clutter in your mind and relationships. Many people find that focusing on a task is easier when their vision is less distracted by the mess in the room or living area. There’s also a sense of mental clarity and relief when you’ve organised your closet or gone through the junk drawer in your kitchen (no judgement, we all have that one mess of a drawer).
If you take a moment to truly look around your home and evaluate the number of possessions you have, it could be shocking. They are ascribed to impulse purchases, impressing people and retail therapy. “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like,” said Dave Ramsey, financial advisor and New York Times bestselling author.
Besides material possessions, clutter exists in aspects such as our undertakings — overcommitting to work or events because you can’t say no or are afraid to disappoint someone. Look inwardly and ask yourself whether the things you have committed to are imperative. If it isn’t, start scaling back. Imagine the relief and freedom you would experience when you finally let it go.
Rajesh, Tanushka, Tara, Imaan
Age of kids
Tara – 13 Imaan – 10
Work / Designation
Regional Head (APAC) Aegis, Social Impact Investor.
Country of Origin
India and Spain
Which other countries you’ve lived before this as a family?
Home is Malaga, Spain
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Which area you live here in KL?
How do you feel about your neighbourhood?
We love Mont Kiara as it has a beautiful community vibe surrounded by expats, like ourselves. The ability to walk to access daily necessities, the kids school, cafes, restaurants and its connectivity to other parts of KL – definitely unique.
What the family enjoy doing together during free time?
Rajesh and Imaan enjoy going to the driving range and to the greens at Tropicana Country Club. Not only do they love the game of golf but spending some great father-son time is special.
Being an active family, we enjoy the playground equally. We are running, playing tennis or doing tabata while the kids swing and bike/scooter around.
Playing Monopoly and board/card games (Uno, Black Jack, Poker) together. It’s a great way to engage in converstaions about strategy, investments and showcase our personalities! The kids are extremely competitive and seem to know what they want. It is so interesting to be able to chat openly with them on so many topics that were considered taboo with our own parents. The laughter and excited voices makes it home!
Reading and listening to music as a family, lazing on our beanbags or cozying-in our family teepee are what typical weekend afternoons look like. We are comfortable in our silence too!
Number of rooms in the house
4 +1 bedrooms
3800 sq feet.
What factor(s) makes you choose this unit
We love being on a lower floor with the greenery around and that city skyline view.
The amazing vibe and energy of the house.
The walk in closet!!
Neutral with lots of pop of colors on the walls and furniture.
We love our green space with pink and white bougainvillas on our balcony that overlooks the tropical greenery by day and the twinkling lights and the bejewelled Twin towers by night.
Family’s favourite part of the home
The Living room and the balcony/terrace. Also hanging out by the dry kitchen counter where our internal ‘barista’, Imaan prepares the best coffee from our Nespresso machine!
Favourite art pieces / artifacts
Has to be the 10-foot long pop art canvas in our dining area. It was painted by Year 6 kids at our childrens’ school in the Philippines and auctioned to raise money for cleft lip children. Knowing that it went towards making another child smile, makes it my most precious piece of art. The happy vibe, colors of the painting and the conversations around it make it even more special.
Our life size Golden gem incrusted Buddha statue, originally from Thailand, but purchased in Bombay, India. He has travelled with us to all our homes in Spain, Philippines and now in Malaysia - it is part of our family!
The prayer alter is special to me as it houses idols and symbols from a multitude of faiths and religions. From Hindu deities, Christ and rosary beads and a replay of Buddhist chanting. We are a spiritual family and celebrate all humanity.
Where you go for inspiration
- Its always all around - from all our travels and host countries. We have always brought a part of it with us that makes up our ecclectic home. The stories and memories around them are priceless.
Any daily rituals for the family?
Our daily prayer, gratitude and affirmation practice every night before bedtime. That time is sacred for us as a family and we try not to miss out unless we are travelling or out at the weekend. Not only do we each articulate all the things we are grateful for in our daily life but also what we are grateful for about ourselves.The cuddles and chit chat after are an amazing bonus.
Recommendations furniture / lifestyle stores
We love clean lines, modern and a contemporary look. Our favorite furniture and accessorie store is Natuzzi. We have some beautiful pieces from there and from Stanzo collection from their Japanese stockists. Our go-to place in KL is Ambience by Jim Moore for their antique, distressed restored furniture and Asia inspired accents that fuses beautifully with a modern space.
My favorite lifestyle store is Good Earth in India
Life-saving hacks during COVID lockdowns
Daily Meditation, online learning at Mindvalley, reading and of course Netflix and chill!
Share with Fab! Luxe readers your passion story.
Putting any of our homes together has come very naturally. I am a dentist by profession (Tanushka) and fashionista at heart. I have an aesthetic sense with colors, shapes and all things creative.
I can visualize the look and then watching it come to life is just so exciting. Doing up this home was me being like a kid in candy store.. I was spoiled for choice with the wide spaces, the blank walls and a naturally gorgeous view from every window / balcony of our home!
A recent passion of self taught flower arrangement adds to more color in our home. I use different combinations of fresh flowers every week and I then share my passion with at least 3 people by sending them an arrangement and a note of gratitude. It is so therapeutic and the gratitude is returned ten fold. Flowers do speak a thousand words. Perfect combination of non-verbal communication and me time.
A guilty pleasure is my shoe collection with over a 100 pairs and counting-its always a challenge to find the right amount of space..but upon walking into this home and seeing that the walk in closet was perfectly designed to accommodate this… I just knew this was the right home!
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