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Olive and Popeye – love and hate

£ 40.00£ 185.00

Olive and Popeye – love and hate

Olive sums it all up. There’s nothing saccharine about the relationship between Olive Oyl and Popeye.

I’ve loosely coloured the background  – I find this give the image a sort of energy that it lacks if the colour is more closely applied.

These screenprints are made using drawings by the artist who invented Popeye, Elzie Segar, who died in 1938. 

Popeye was originally a minor character in a strip syndicated in American newspapers. It was called Thimble Theatre, and 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.

Popeye and Olive now have the status of 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.

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. 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.

Standard size: 26cms x 19cms. Available now. NB this version has Popeye wearing blue trousers.

Medium size: 48cms x 38cms. Available now. NB this version has a red background.

Large size: 76cms x 56cms. Available on request – two-week lead time. Contact [email protected] if you would like one.

The screenprint in the main picture is a medium-sized one. The standard-sized print, pictured below, has a wider space between it and the frame and the characters are coloured rather than the background.

Limited edition, handpulled screenprint; printed on cotton, mould-made paper milled in Somerset; printed in the UK; signed and numbered out of 200 in pencil by the printer, John Patrick Reynolds

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