Pop Art and the Fair Use Act


By Ms. Fry – Digital Art Teacher

Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein re-appropriated images from popular culture, altered them using bright colors and bold lines, then put them in art galleries. Many people at the time (1960’s) rejected these commercial images as “art”.

Seventh & eighth grade Digital Art students studied copyright laws and learned about the Fair Use Act, which allows artists to use copyrighted images in their work to make commentary, criticism, or parody.

Students chose a product from current popular culture to work with. They learned how to use many tools in Adobe Photoshop including image adjustments, layer blending modes, drawing tools, and filters to create their own Pop Art style images.

While students created many different variations, for their final product, they selected only their best ones to put together in a final poster layout. They had to consider how the images looked together and how to visually balance the composition.

In a final reflection, each student had to explain whether their artwork represented a commentary, a criticism, or a parody of the original product. Here are some student examples:

Asia, 7th grade

I think that parody applies to my images most. The strange colors and variations make them look funny and different, but there is not many clues that make it look like I’m criticizing or commenting on the product. It puts a comical twist on the images.


Jory, 8th grade

I think my pop art project is a Criticism of the modern consumer world. It is a Criticism of the ever changing consumer market and how if you don’t change with what is the cool at that time your product is not bought it disappears from history. This process happens much faster than is ever did is history in a year rather than decades do old technologies get replaced by the new; Why can we never be satisfied? I think I really Expressed not just the modern consumer market in my work but that all things not just marketing degrades and disappears with time. That is the second law of thermodynamics entropy always increases in a close system.


Keelie, 8th grade

I think my work is criticism. I believe this because lipstick is the stereotypical icon for women or girls. I wanted to show that lipstick can be different and exotic, just like there are different types of girls and women. I wanted the viewer to realise not all stereotypes are true, and not all people are the same. This is why I changed the Maybelline Lipstick to different types. Instead of a boring red, I tweaked it to a peppy yellow, or a calm blue and purple. I showed that anything could be fun. I hope my viewers see this too.


Matthew R., 7th grade

I think that my pop art demonstrated criticism, but in an odd way. Nintendo is having trouble in the stock market, and their products are the reason. There are literally 8 types of DS systems and 3 types of Wii Systems. I criticized how Nintendo always does the same thing over and over again.


Haley, 8th grade

Personally I believe that I have applied criticism, comment, and parody to the original photograph. The criticism applies because I have ‘improved’ the original photograph to catch the eye more and I have implied what the original photo could have done to improve what it could display visually. I have also commented on what the original photo was compared to what it could be but without words. I had my own opinion about what the photo could look like in my own mind and what I believed could improve it. Finally, I have created a parody of the original artwork because I still have the original photograph hidden under layers of enhancement made to rise interest, or to make it look more fun.






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