Example of essay on comparing street art to pop art

Examining the vital and distinct differences between street art and pop art, it is necessary to look at several examples. Andy Warhol’s portrait of Che Guevara, created in 1968, is a perfect example of pop art – a genre that Warhol himself innovated. In this work, nine differently colorized images of Che Guevara are presented in a tiled manner, each of them having a different brilliantly neon color scheme. This particular image is pop art due to its appropriation of pop culture imagery in order to make an artistic statement in a formal, artistic exhibition context; the use of Che’s iconic image in such an irreverent way echoes the way the image of revolution itself has been appropriated to mean something entirely different. Conversely, artist Banksy appropriated these same images of Che Guevara to hammer the point home further, painting three different versions of the Che images, all with sunglasses of various design, on a wall in Ladbroke Grove.
The same can be said of Warhol and Banksy’s appropriation of the Mona Lisa image; both of them made new works that can be categorized as pop art and street art, respectively. Warhol painted the Mona Lisa on canvas, a slightly less perfect copy of the Da Vinci original is provided, except just in a bright blue color. Banksy, meanwhile, spraypainted a rebellious version of the Mona Lisa on a London wall, wearing headphones and holding a bazooka. While both images say similar things about artistic appropriation of serious images, Warhol’s pop art is meant for exhibition, while Banksy’s street art is graffiti-d in public, meant for free, open consumption. Warhol’s versions of Che Guevara are minimalist spins on pop culture icons meant to be treated like any other art, while Banksy’s work involves guerilla appropriation of public spaces to make more radical, overt statements about its subject matter.