About the Artist, Lego Classicists & Pop Art

Liam D. Jensen is a filmmaker, historical archivist and since 2016, a pop artist working in the medium of LEGO. He is a fourth generation artist.

In 2016 Jensen established Lego Classicists, a history and pop art initiative that combines his skills and experiences in film, history and popular culture, that was created to celebrate the ancient world, its current relevance and the people who study it. As a pop artist, he aims to challenge the definition and meaning of art, and through the use of LEGO as a medium to pose questions about social, cultural and philosophical ideology and issues.

Jensen’s Lego Classicists work includes portraits of many international classics identities including Prof. Dame Mary Beard, Prof. Andrew Wallace- Hadrill, Prof. Massimo Osanna, Natalie Haynes and Stephen Fry. Articles about his work have been published internationally including by the BBC, the Greek Herald and Antike Welt, and his work has been displayed at the British Museum, the Jönköpings läns Museum and the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney.

Through Lego Classicists, Jensen has collaborated on projects with institutions including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the British Museum and most recently, the British School at Athens.

More About Pop Art

Pop Art is a perhaps surprisingly sophisticated genre of art. It uses images and iconography of pop culture and everyday objects to beguile the viewer, just as advertising does, into a false sense of security. Because pop art images are usually simplified and brightly coloured and their subjects are instantly recognizable, they are accessible and engaging in a way that immediately attracts the eye. The effect is that pop-art has an instant appeal to a wide and diverse audience.

However, once our eye has been attracted and we are lulled into thinking we understand what appears to be a simple message, we are tricked into questioning much about society, culture and ourselves. The prime function of pop art seems to be social reflection and critique following instant attraction.

The most famous pop-artist was Andy Warhol, who appropriated advertising images that were often identical to the products they portrayed, like the Campbell’s Soup series or his Brillo Box series, but which make us question the nature of art and society and which respond to a post World War II environment of advertising, consumerism, youth culture, energy and optimism. Roy Lichtenstein drew inspiration chiefly from comic books and pulp fiction and his work is ironic and perceptive, finding nuance and meaning in the unexpected hiding in full view, by honing in on cultural iconographic symbols and twisting them, investing them with poignancy, mystery and complexity.

Pop art as a movement developed in the 1950s following the years of deprivation and hardship caused by the Depression and World War II, and partially grew out of the Dada movement, and the intellectual, brightly coloured hard-edge work of Piet Mondrian which preceded it. It emerged in a number of Western countries but had its early roots in the United Kingdom through artists like Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton. The industry of advertising itself chiefly developed in the 20th century through developments in technology of affordable colour printing like silk-screen printing and lithography, the portable camera, radio broadcasting, film and the motion picture, television and later the internet. Growing in tandem with the technological developments that gave birth to mass advertising was the easy identification and engagement with “celebrities” like movie stars, royals and the rich, who were seen widely in magazines, newspapers, on television and at the cinema. The development of rock music and the youth counter culture movement of the 1960s also led to a heightened interest in record cover design and alternative and student magazines and political posters, exemplified by the work of Australian artist Martin Sharp. Mass media, advertising, and social change therefore provided inspiration, the medium, the means and the language for artists to respond to their cultural experiences of the life that surrounded them.

Pop artists appropriate the visual language and imagery of widely accessible popular culture to respond to and critique it.

September, 2022