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Q&A with Artist Zteven on his Pop Culture Soup Can Artwork

Charle's Angels. Zteven's new soup can artwork  for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/Zteven .
Charle's Angels. Zteven's new soup can artwork for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/Zteven . www.popmania.tv

Remember Andy Warhol's famous Campbell Soup Can Artwork? Now artist Zteven has taken the soup can and created his very own Pop Art! Zteven turned to his love of iconic TV and Movies such as Dynasty, AbFab, Charlie's Angels, Batman, Valley of the Dolls, to created his very funny and fresh Pop Culture Soup Can Artwork! I have the pleasure to chat with Zetevn about his passion for his art! Enjoy!

Zteven with his favoirte art pieces the Fantastic Four comic book.
Zteven with his favoirte art pieces the Fantastic Four comic book. www.popmania.tv

How did you get the inspiration to do these Warhol inspired Soup art?
I've been a fan of Andy Warhol for the longest time. I remember seeing him on The Love Boat and being mesmerized by his awkward coolness... Afterwards, reading his books and seeing his artwork, I connected with (what I felt was) his perspective of being "the ultimate fan". I saw his work as a sincere worship of celebrity and media, but equally balanced with a knowing sense of humor. It was both superficially beautiful and comically self-depricating at the same time. At least that's what I read into it, maybe from my own projections. I have to say that I also enjoyed how polarizing his approach was and how certain people loved him, while others were completely riled and offended. I was entertained by the line in the sand he drew. So, to me, these soup cans are just a form of that visual "everyman" language he created. They're 100% sincere and also completely silly. I'm happiest and most entertained when sincerity and humor collide. It seems very genuine. I also want to say that my use of the word "Camp" on the artwork is much more about the visual I've chosen than it is about any of the subject matter I choose. I would never want any of the subjects to think I'm stamping them as "camp". I'm stamping myself!

How do you choose which TV show you pay homage to?
I choose subjects I really love or that my friends really love. As a child of the 80s, I lived on comic books and radio and TV and magazines and movies. Most of my friends have similar likes and experiences, so there's really a constant stream of conversation and inspiration and advice about subject matter.

Which soup can-artwork is your favorite?
I think my favorite soup can art is the Batman, Robin, Batgirl trio. The Adam West TV show had a major impact on me as a kid and still does -- the styling and colors and presentation and deadpan humor... I loved incorporating the "BOFF! and BAM!" sound effects into the captions. I also did a Debbie Harry soup can which was a take-off on her first solo album, "Koo Koo". It was produced by Chic and featured cover art by H.R. Giger depicting airbrushed needles through her head. So I called it "Debbie Harry's Chic and Needles Soup" and that's one of my favorites as well.

How do you come up with the soup captions?
Wine spritzers and long road trips are both incredibly conducive to coming up with fun soup captions -- as long as it's not at the same time! Also talking with my genius friends and family are great ways to come up with captions. I've proudly felt at my most "Warholian" when taking an idea that a friend has given me and making soup out of that. Once I can get them to come up with the idea, produce the graphics, sell it, and then finally take it to the post office -- I know I will have finally "made it". haha

My favorite of course is the Charlie's Angels set was it fun deciding which soup name each angel would get.
That was so much fun. My sister and I were total fans of Charlie's Angels when the series first ran and we collected the bubblegum cards and games and dolls and model kits and were totally obsessed with the show. Later in life I became friends with two other huge Charlie's Angels fans (my friends Bobby and James) and it was they who really inspired me to do the Charlie's Angels set. It was very fun coming up with the soup names for each of the six angels. I have to say again, my worst fear would be for any of the subjects I've done to ever think I was making fun of them -- it's so not the case. But being playful with the characters' idiosyncrasies and aligning a soup name with them is fun.

Were there any Angel soup names which you thought of but did not use?
I still want to do "Charlie's Mysterious Speaker Pho" and a "Bosley Bisque" to go alongside the Angels.

How many pop-Soup can art sets are there?
I think I've done over 30 of them now.

Do you plan to make a second set of soup can artwork?
Yes, definitely. I want to do a Charlie and a Bosley, and also some trio sets featuring the 3 Angels from the various seasons.

What is your favorite pop culture TV show? Why?
My favorite is probably either the 60's Batman series or Dynasty. Batman was, to me, the most visually beautiful show ever on television. The colors and costumes and sets and graphics... It was flat and cheap, but it looked intentional and inspired. And Dynasty was like the best of Tennessee Williams and William Dozier colliding into a 2-dimensional brilliant mess -- with Aaron Spelling at the throne!

What is your favorite current TV series?
Recently I've been a fan of American Horror Story because of my complete love for Jessica Lange. I really loved the first two seasons, although this past season didn't engage me as much. Still, I look forward to the next season. I also love "Doctor Who" and "The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills", both of which I would categorize as sci-fi pulp melodramas!

What do you hope buyers get from your soup can artwork?
I hope it makes them smile and makes them happy. I hope for them to enjoy the humor and know it's an affectionate reference to the source -- as opposed to being ironic or an attempt at elevating itself above the source, if that makes sense.

Was Warhol a huge influence on your artwork or do you just like soup?
Like many of my friends who grew up in the 80s, I was attracted to and connected with the bold flat graphic design that comprised Andy Warhol's artwork, and later I loved it more for the subversive humor and commentary underneath. And yes, I also absolutely love soup, although I draw the line at gazpacho.

Talking soup...what is your favorite soup to eat?
Hot and Sour Soup from a Chinese Buffet on a Sunday afternoon after a really late Saturday night, just prior to going to a used book store is one of the best things in the world.

What other art do you sell or create?
I also do freelance graphic design and acrylic pop paintings.

Do you take requests for artwork?
Absolutely. I've done pop-style paintings of everything from people's pets and antique cars and family and favorite TV stars and music stars... It's always interesting and humbling doing those kind of things, knowing how much the subject means to that person. I love doing that, it feels collaborative.

What piece of all the art you have created is your favorite piece?
Many things for many different reasons. I've kept one of the very first paintings I did which was based on a Fantastic Four comic book. It always reminds me of feeling inspiration and direction when I look at it and I kind of favor it for those reasons.

Where can people find you and your art on the web?
I have a blog at www.popmania.tv which has many paintings and soup art displayed. I really should update it more often. I also have an etsy store where I put up new soup can artwork more frequently. www.etsy.com/shop/Zteven And anyone can always email me at zteven@aol.com!