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The Characteristics of Pop Art

Leah Spencer

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Pop art is an abbreviation of ‘popular art’ . The term pop art was first used by English critic Lawrence Alloway. Pop art was used to comment on the society, culture and mass media, especially as a critical or ironic comment by using images and icons and incorporating and re-defining them in the art world. This movement put an end to difference standard of arts. It also gave a new dimension of art and made people believe that art can be made from anything and the idea is more important than the work of art itself. This movement shared lot of characteristics form Dada-Surrealism which was another artistic movement. Here are few key characteristics of pop art:

Never follow any rule:

The basic characteristic of any pop art is that there is no rule to be followed. The object of interest is depicted in any way which the artist fell right without any restrictions. This gives a bold edge to the art.


Abstraction is more important than the event itself. Pop art always focussed mainly on idea than spending too much time on how to work it out. It has its own way of expressing the irony of the masses which is another characteristic of pop art is. They always try to express their inner world of emotion than external reality.

Being a mirror:

Pop art hasheld the mirror up to the society and unlike other artistic movements it always reflects the society values. It used irony in this process. The basic life of the middle class was itself reflected upon the canvass. From soup cans to nude women, every aspect of the middle class lifestyle was made an object of interest.


One of characteristics of pop art that has made it what it is now is modernism. It has adapted to every change that it has faced due to time and always succeeded in holding the scene together. Pop art has evolved with time without any loss of quality.

Mass audience:

Pop art is always based on conveying something important to mass audience. Whatever they create should be done in a way that the message that it tries to convey should reach a mass amount of people.


Pop art has always been defined as transient which is a short term solution. To every problem that arises in society aspect or political aspect, the solution they give is ephemeral.

Low Cost:

In earlier days it has been a medium of mass communication at low cost. Pop art communicated everything they wanted regarding all the issues faced by the society in the form of art at low cost. This has benefitted people in many ways.

Aimed at youth:

As we know the world’s biggest power is the youth and the beauty of a woman. Realizing this in the beginning of their movement pop art always aimed at youth. The use of neon colors and abstract images is always prominent in pop art till this date.


Pop art conveys what it wants to in satirical way. It has lot of humour and irony which induce people to think. They also use a trick or device to attract public attention.

Commercial characteristics:

The image should be recognizable. It must be taken from some famous or common stuff. They should be able to change the ordinary things into art. Bright colours are used as well with very day to day seen captions just to lay more emphasis on how paradoxical our lives have become.

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