Acrylic art has been an exciting form of expression since the invention of the synthetic paint in the early 20th century. Earliest forms of acrylic paints were made with a mineral spirit base, and artists such as Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstien created historic acrylic art by experimenting with this early form of the medium. By the mid-1950s, the first water-based acrylic paint was on the market, and many artists of the day embraced its versatility. With a medium that could produce soft shading as well as hard lines, these artists began to experiment and quickly realized they could use it to produce works of mixed-media, layered painting, and thick, paste-like impasto. With the added bonus of the medium's rich pigments and fast drying time, the potential for acrylic art was vast.
Some of the most important works of the 20th century were created with acrylics. Andy Warhol used the varying color properties of acrylic art in the vibrant red of his Campbell Soup Can as well as in the pale, fading hue of Little Electric Chair (Orange). Warhol's paintings are examples of the range of color intensity that can be found in many works of collectible acrylic art. Mark Rothko used the medium on both paper and canvas, while Roy Lichtenstien's Whaam! was created with both acrylic and oil paint.
One of the most exciting aspects of acrylic art is its undiscovered potential. As contemporary acrylic artists conceive of new ways to use it, they will continue to create innovative works that embrace the unique aspects and qualities of the medium. Just like the artists before them, today's artists, such as landscape painter, Cathy McClellend, abstract artist, Howard Ziff, American Noir painter, Gina Higgins, and graffiti-inspired portrait painter, Chad Raymo, are finding new and inventive ways to express themselves through the versatility of acrylic art.
Which acrylic art paintings best fit your aesthetic sensibilities?