Epitomizing Pop Art, Mel Ramos’ (b. 1935) work features nude women on display with iconic imagery: posing next to bottles of brand name soda, acting as the surprise inside an unwrapped candy bar, sitting sexily on cigarette boxes, and more. In repurposing visuals from mass media, Mel Ramos, like all the Pop Artists of the 1960s, made the separation between fine art and ordinary culture ambiguous.
In celebration of his many years spent prolifically producing pin-up style paintings, Mel Ramos is being awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award this February at the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair, where a 50 year retrospective of his work will be featured.
So where did Ramos begin half a century ago? Creating paintings of images from comic books. In the 1960s, prior to the Comics Code, the drawings that made it into the panels of comics were much more erotic — this was Ramos’ start in creating the sensual depictions of the female form he would ultimately become known for, and which he still produces today.
In his paintings of pin-ups posed with consumer products, Mel Ramos seeks to use symbols that have preexisting symbolic associations: “I got interested using the brand names,” he said. “The object also has to be an icon, something you don’t even think about. When you see a Coca-Cola sign you don’t even read it anymore, you just know what it says in your mind” (Source). With his use of both advertising and female beauty, Ramos creates a statement about American consumerism, and our ideas about what sells products – and why.
Learn more about pin-up artist Mel Ramos in our video below.
Ackerman’s Fine Art is actively purchasing works by Pop Artist and Pin-up Painter Mel Ramos. Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.