Careful to define himself as a Pop Artist, Chapman begins by describing his frustration with the recent influx of generic mass produced prints which he sees as an assault on the true spirit of the pop art movement. "I see myself as a figurative design artist." He says, adding, "Some would say Pop Art painter, although the Pop Art movement has become blurred over the last few years with the introduction of computer generated prints being passed off as Pop Art.
I would say I am a Modernist Pop Art Illustrator" All too familiar with the paradox, that the recent influx of mass produced shop pop art has created. Chapman profoundly understands the difficulty in defining the real spirit of the movement and re aligning its direction within the culture of the 21st century, and its readily available technology. As Pop artists in the 1950's and the 1960's focused on familiar images from popular culture and made fun of industry and mass production by mass producing their own art, Chapman's mission is to empower the progressive quality and creative vision of popular imagery and focus on the brilliance of the art and the image.
It is interesting to unravel Chapman's obsession with an art movement so defining of an era. The Pop Art movement was marked by a fascination with popular culture and reflected the affluence of post-war society. It offered visual artists an alternative means of communication to the abstract expressionist movement, which many young artists at the time found oppressive. The movement immerged slowly in the 1950's and 1960's, not with a bang or manifesto but through a number of artists working independently to each other, living as far a field as London, Paris, Milan, Düsseldorf, Rome and New York. Each of the artists began by challenging the notion of good taste and the inviolability of the work of art. The term, Pop Art, became an umbrella term to describe a collection of artists and approaches that engaged and reflected modern life and its culture.
In celebrating everyday objects such as soup cans, washing powder, comic strips and soda pop bottles, the movement turned the commonplace into icons and the art it's self into popular culture. It is a testament to the power of the Movement that Chapman an artist born in 1973 - when the movement was slowing down, still finds himself influenced by its fundamental obsessions. In the same way that Pop Art challenged the concept of low and high brow art, so too Chapman's work challenges the notion with an almost ferocious enthusiasm. His fervour for the movement is born out of a genuine fascination with the art - a passion for sixty's pop and design and a fondness for the era. "I am trying to continue what would have become of the Pop Art movement if it hadn't fizzled out during the eighties." says Chapman. "It's the colours that jump out at you when they are complementary or clashing…something that seems familiar but seen in a new way. I suppose Warhol and Lichtenstein did it first with the Marilyn's and Comic Book paintings. Taking a familiar image and changing it …either by colour or in size. I am trying to do the same, although adding design in there."
Chapman paints to the music of the era and often listens to the music of the artist he is painting. "My thoughts are miles away when I paint. Hours can easily slip by." he says. Taking influence from artists such as Warhol and Lichtenstein, Pollock and Riley, his work pays homage to their underlying structures, techniques and approaches. "From the graphic work from the past and present, whether it be on a board game box or logo on a shopping bag, comic strip or a menu in a restaurant, a fragment in each of those is a little bit of inspiration, and it gets logged somewhere in my head before manifesting itself in a new body of work." he says. Finding inspiration from contemporary life, from the classic paintings of days gone by to the latest car advert, Ivan Chapman quirkily documents popular culture.
Ivan Chapman's art work has been exhibited around Britain, Spain and North America. He is also available to take on commissions personalised to your requirements. For more information please contact the LondonArt team.