Take a step inside the studio of John Lichtenstein. The artist and musician, well known for his work with the now-defunct End of the Dial Tone Radical Experimental Collaborative Music Band Band, has since shifted his focus whole-heartedly to visual art.
Incorporating the use of an overhead projector, Lichtenstein meticulously draws and traces to create transparencies, which he then enlarges on to sheets of plywood to create his signature brightly colored works of art in a style all his own.
"At first, I felt like there was a sense of shame in using a projector," he says. "It felt like I was cheating. But as I developed my style, it just become another tool to create."
His work is easily recognizable: his subject matter often includes movie monsters, models from his own reference photos, and more recently, currency — always boldly presented in the foreground of a creatively filled negative space. He employs the use of bright colors (usually red or lime green), repetition and image overlaying to strengthen his concepts, and he says his choice of a functional canvas, like plywood, also adds character and recognition to his work.
Lichtenstein began to develop his style after working closely with the local music scene and seeing the impact show fliers had on the community as collectible pieces of art. Since then, he says his biggest focus has been on honing his craft.
"Evolving is a terribly painful process," he says. "The only way you can do it is to just continually produce. You learn lessons the hard way, but you just keep producing. I'm holding myself to a pace of one project a day, and already, it's evolved. It started with the movie monsters, then I developed the background stripes to draw your eye to the subject, and then I started experimenting with image doubling. Most recently, I've been interested in overlaying currency onto my work. I feel like I've only scratched the surface of what can be done."