Ina Fried

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Eat Your Heart Out, Marilyn; Warhol Museum Brings True Pop Art to the iPhone

While there are plenty of apps that simulate Warhol-esque pop art on the iPhone, a new app from the artist’s namesake museum takes things a step further, educating users on the true process used to create such images.

Like other filters, the Warhol D.I.Y. Pop app works with either a photo in one’s library or with an image taken from the iPhone. Unlike other apps and filters, though, the Warhol app takes users through the real-world tools and techniques used to create such images, mimicking the silkscreen process on the phone.

“If inspired by the existing Warhol-esque apps, it was only due to our disappointment in them,” museum communications manager Rick Armstrong told AllThingsD. “Without the human interaction and creativity the results are not very exciting. The fun educational opportunity to expose Warhol’s process along with user interaction and creativity was what interested and inspired the project for us.”

The app starts by allowing users to crop their photo. From there the app asks users to create a film positive of their image, then expose the silkscreen, create an underpainting and then pull a squegee over the top of the virtual silkscreen to finish the effect. With each step, more detail on how the real-world process works is only a click away. While much of the work on the iPhone is automated, it gives users a feel for the process they are emulating.

Tresa Varner, curator for The Warhol, said in a statement that she feels Warhol would have embraced and celebrated technology like the iPhone.

“He often said he wanted to be a machine,” Varner said in a statement. “In a 1960’s interview, Warhol was asked how he would meet the challenge of automation, and he replied, ‘By becoming part of it.'”

The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based museum teamed with nearby Carnegie Mellon University’s Professional Software Engineering Program to engineer the app, which took 14 months to create and is now available on the iPhone App Store. It is priced at $1.99, though it is being discounted to 99 cents for the launch.

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