James Rosenquist born 1933 American Pop-Art Painters
James Rosenquist grew up in North Dakota and Minnesota. At age 14, he won a scholarship to study at the Minneapolis School of Art and continued art studies at the University of Minnesota from 1952 to 1954. In 1955, having received a scholarship to the Art Students League, he moved to New York City. All the while, Rosenquist supported himself by working as a billboard painter, later using the leftover billboard paint to create small abstract paintings in the manner of the reigning New York school style. It was not until 1960 that he abandoned Abstract Expressionism to directly engage the techniques and iconography of his commercial work.
Rosenquist enjoyed the effect of using a billboard style of painting on smaller canvases, where the images became softly blurred and their literal quality was lost in the close-up orientation and the cropping of the image. He also played with shifts in scale and technique—employing, for example, grisaille and full colour—and juxtaposed a number of disparate motifs in a single canvas. The completed painting would be a disjunctive display of various pop images that presaged the postmodern strategy of pastiche, as in the later work of David Salle. Rosenquist’s array of signs sometimes suggested an overriding sexual or political theme. In the 1960s he made more overtly political work, epitomized by the monumental wraparound painting F-111, a canvas in 51 pieces that places American goods against the backdrop of a military fighter-bomber.