Joey Maas – Neo Pop Art
I’m visiting the home and studio of Joey Maas, whose Pop Art paintings have a steadily growing fan base in Portland. He sits at the dining room table with his dog, Rocky, and drinks coffee before going to work on a new painting. He lives with his wife, Shauna Haider, and brother-in-law, Carey Haider, and the three of them make up a household that is radioactive with creativity.
What initially inspired you to go in the pop art direction? What did you like about that look?
Well, to put it simply, what inspired me to start painting was a really ugly bedroom. I’ve always been a fan of modern design and decor, but my bedroom at the time was hideous with bad 1970′s faux wood paneling and brown carpet, and since I was renting, I couldn’t really tear it all up and put up fresh drywall. My only option was to liven it up with some bright colored artwork.
I always loved the bold yet simplistic style that classic pop art projected. It seems to work in just about any room, and people can identify with it. There’s a lot of great art out there, but a lot of it isn’t something that appeals to the general public. Pop art defies that for the most part. I’m not really an artist that’s trying to make a huge sociopolitical statement, I just want to make things that look good. A lot of artists would probably call that shallow.
And I imagine you get tired of hearing people refer to your work as just “pop art style”. In your own words, how is your work different? How have you tried you differentiate yourself from the classic works?
Obviously the classics are what initially inspired my earlier pieces, and it’s pretty apparent by looking at them. As I became more comfortable with my work, I started to include more design elements, as well as getting much more detailed with my portraits. I started adding text, numbers, shapes etc, to define my style. I guess I would call it Neo Pop Art.
Joey’s attic studio has low angled ceilings and just enough floor space to fit a large blank canvas. He sits cross legged and begins working on his next piece.
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