Putting the pop into Pop Art: Oklahoma artist uses bottles, caps in every piece

Great State

PURCELL, Okla. (KFOR) — He is a retired art teacher who educated himself on the art of comic strips and cartoons.

“It’s kind of a God given talent,” says James Kyzer.

He also haunted the streets of Hartshorne, Oklahoma for discarded bottles.

“When I was a young guy, I used to go out and collect them, and sell them for two cents apiece and make a little bit of money,” he recalls.

Both of those influences mixed like caramel syrup and carbonated water to form a style that more than quenched his artistic thirst.

He says, “It seems like I’m always thinking of something to draw or put together.”

James never had a sip of Washington Cola but the picture on the bottle is what really inspired him.

The pop bottle he’s drawing is from, “Washington, Missouri. 1947,” he reads.

Kyzer draws from the label then combines it with other mixed media that runs with his theme.

Describing items he’ll combine with his label, he lists, “I got a silver certificate which I think is cool. Plus, Washington is on a whole bunch of stamps if you want to put those in there.”

Mr. Kyzer the art teacher demonstrated his ideas to students first.

Then he really got going after retirement.

“There’s plenty to do,” he smiles. “I was blessed with a good imagination also.”

His garage is filled with the containers from bottling plants long since closed and lined with the advertisements that made people want to drink it.

Kyzer says, “Every little town used to have their own bottling plant and their own little logos and stuff.”

The bottles themselves aren’t as important as the labeling on the bottle.

Every one of his pieces has pop at its bubbly center, either with bottle caps, or the bottles themselves.

You name it and he’ll find a connection with something, putting the pop back into pop art.

“To me,” he says, “They’re just beautiful. I don’t know.”

Kyzer tries to get to at least one art show around the state each month starting in April.

The immediate future of those shows is in jeopardy right now but he’s still working on his inventory so he’ll be ready when things get back to normal.

‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.

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