Olive Realises She Fancies Popeye

Regular price £74.00

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Handmade screen print on cotton paper.

Signed and numbered out of 200 in pencil by the printer, John Patrick Reynolds.

Standard size: 26cm x 19cm  
Medium size: 48cm x 38cm
Large size: 76cm x 56cm

 

Popeye and Olive Oyl are an archetypal couple – they are obviously attracted to each other, but they often fall out and row, often bitterly. Although the characters have been around for nearly 100 years, the way they behave seems quite modern. Here’s a great fanpage about Popeye: http://www.math.pitt.edu/~bard/bardware/popeye/popeye.html.

My screenprints and greetings cards are based on drawings by the artist who invented Popeye and Olive Oyl, Elzie Segar (https://randolphsociety.org/elzie-segar/) who died in 1938.

Popeye was originally a minor character in a strip syndicated in American newspapers called Thimble Theatre, which started in 1919, with Olive Oyl and her brother Caster Oyl some of the main characters. Popeye first appeared as an incidental character in 1929 and stole the show; the strip was soon named after him.

By the way, it was only when I started screenprinting the character that I realised that his name refers to the fact that he only has a single eye, the left one. The right eye is always depicted as a sort of asterisk. Apparently, when Elzie Segar introduced Popeye, he drew his inspiration from a man he knew  in his hometown of Chester, Illinois, who was a one-eyed man called Frank "Rocky" Fiegal.

And spinach – which became an essential part of the Popeye makeup – was not originally part of his setup. The iron-rich leaf first made an appearance in the early 1930s, when he was running away from a bull and accidentally landed in a back garden full of the stuff. He didn’t even know what it was, and had to be told.

These are all original screenprints. An original print is a work of art printed by hand, from a plate, block, stone, or stencil (which is the case here - screenprints are made using screen stencils) that has been created by the artist for the purpose of producing the image.