“Nice. Mr. Lichtenstein would approve :)” is a comment that I received recently on my work.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard the comparison between my work and that of Roy Lichtenstein’s…
and I realize that I come off as a dick if I don’t grovel with gratitude when someone compares my work to Lichtenstein.
To me, this is what it feels like…
You’re a chef at a new restaurant. A man comes in that has never eaten there before. He orders a Monte Cristo. You make him a Monte Cristo. You like making Monte Cristos sometimes. It’s not all you cook. It’s not even something you cook on a regular basis.
You make the sandwich and send it on its way.
The man that ordered the sandwich is thrilled with the sandwich. He rushes back to the kitchen you’re working in to say, “The chef that is famously known for his Monte Cristo sandwiches, who makes more money than you and whom you don’t know personally and is otherwise completely unrelated to you, would totally approve of what you’re doing here with this Monte Cristo sandwich.
Now… do you expect that chef to drop to his knees and thank you? Or do expect him to get a little offended?
It doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t do that for any other profession.
I am a pop artist. Yes. My work is known for it’s clean, illustrative style. However, comic appropriation is literally 6% of what I do. Most of my work is NOT an appropriation of someone else’s work like Mr. Lichtenstein’s was.
And it’s not that this comment simply compared my work to Roy Lichtenstein’s work. It was that this commenter assumed that I would be pleased as punch to have Lichtenstein’s approval – as if I wanted or needed the confirmation from, or endorsement of, some dead, rich guy who happens to have had the same profession that I do.
It is not a compliment to say “Roy Lichtenstein would approve”. It’s a condescending comparison. It’s also thoughtless and lazy. If you really appreciated my style you would have taken the time to compliment my actual work, instead of measuring my work against someone else’s.