Back in the day, when I started to paint in a pop art manner, I had to face some reaction from few fellow American artist. The concern was based upon two issues_ one being that, as a Romanian born and naturalized too late in the US, I might have no reasons, and no background, to work in this manner and, second, that out of my cultural background and national heritage there are no recognizable personalities, facts or products.
Even today I have to fight, from time to time, this two issues.
Here is my take:
"As we all know, pop art was initially considered a revision of Dadaism or neo-dada. In that take I have to remind to all, that Dadaism is a movement that was jump-started by Romanian writer Tristan Tzara and the Romania painter Marcel Janco. “Dada was born out of negative reaction to the horrors of World War I. This international movement was begun by a group of artists and poets associated with the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition. The origin of the name Dada is unclear; some believe that it is a nonsensical word. Others maintain that it originates from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco's frequent use of the words da, da, meaning yes, yes in the Romanian language. Another theory says that the name "Dada" came during a meeting of the group when a paper knife stuck into a French-German dictionary happened to point to 'dada', a French word for 'hobbyhorse'” (source Wikipedia).
On another hand, even the dealers that put pop-art on the map, ware linked to Romania:
Leo Castelli, in 1932, went to work for an insurance company in Bucharest, where he married Ileana Schapira one year later. Ileana Schapira later changed her name and became Ileana Sonnabend nicknamed as Machiavelli, owner on Sonnabend Gallery in SoHo where along her first husband Leo Castelli influenced the art-world and put pop art on the scene.
On the regard of my Romanian iconic heritage I can only name few things, strong enough for an ex-communist country of 22 million: Constantin Brancusi, Nicolae Ceausescu (the last European dictator) and the famous “People’s House” ( the largest building in Europe).
My deep concern, as an artist, is not how other pop artists think about me, but the fact that young Romanian artists do not feel entitled to take the challenge on the pop art aestetics. " - Eugene Al Pann