The Bomb Pop, a frozen snack marketed to children, is an odd combination of American colors and war references. It dates back to 1955. In this rendition, Sonya leans on a giant red, white, and blue popsicle. She enjoys a realistically portioned pop. She wears only her long, flowing hair. The pose appears upbeat and shows she is aware of being on display. Borrowing from classic pin-up art nude illustrations, this digitally produced photo manipulation places a circle into the design. The model’s fingernails and toenails colors match the blue ice of the popsicle. She shows no reservation in her nudity or at resting her bare arm on the frigid dessert.
Part homage and part satire, this image is part of my Raw Sugar theme. The series remixes customary beauty queens with oversized sweets. I draw inspiration from iconic “pin-up girls” such as Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Paige. Memories of childhood museum exhibits of artists such as Mel Ramos influenced my style. Another influence was Tom Wesselmann. The stamp of approval by the Metropolitan Museum of Art reassured me. At this formative age, it was helpful to know that an enthusiasm for the genre was normal. The first art book I owned was simply titled Pin-uP, by Hajime Sorayama. I ordered the book when I was about thirteen. In that anthology, food played a symbolic role in the compositions. However, I did not fully grasp the metaphors at that age.
Pop artists of the previous century often used food as their subjects. Andy Warhol painted soup cans and Claes Oldenburg created gigantic junk-food fare as sculpture. Much of this was a reaction to an art establishment that seemed to take itself too seriously at times. It is the influence of Mel Ramos, however, that most closely resembles this photographic theme. By targeting sugary indulgences, the spotlight is on all forms of desire, especially when presented as a pin-up art nude. Evelyne Axell’s “Ice Cream” and similar paintings are additional inspiration; these evoke erotic connotations with a whimsical approach.
When in art school, classmates and I investigated the paintings of Olivia De Berardinis and Alberto Vargas watercolors. Through dialogue and contemplation, we dissected their appeal. I am presently fascinated by the overconsumption of sugar. Through this series, I offer an alternative to a sugary diet to satisfy our sweet tooth in the form of visual comfort food.
This pin-up art nude is not endorsed by or affiliated with Wells Enterprises, Inc., the maker of Bomb Pop.