Roy Lichtenstein’s Spray Can of 1963 is a simplified cartoon representation of a domestic spray can being used by an idealised female hand. Similar to Sandwich and Soda, the work depicts the banality of everyday life, rendered through the idealised nature of print advertisements.
This lithograph was commissioned for the One Cent Life album, featuring the work of leading international contemporary artists. The landmark publication was initiated by Chinese-American poet and printmaker Walasse Ting. One Cent Life encapsulates the essence of an era, the significance of true values, and the appreciation of the simplest things in life. To this day it is the most important album compiling the printed works of avant-garde artists of the post-war era.
Lichtenstein’s Spray Can poses a radical challenge to the conventions of painting. In this print, the artist presents his blue comic book illustration as classic, iconic, and purely American. Akin to Red Barn of 1969, Spray Can is one of Lichtenstein's early ventures into capturing essential shapes. The work marks a pivotal point in Lichtenstein’s career, right as the pop pioneer first began implementing his mechanical Ben Day dot patterning. His Spray Can ultimately symbolises the birth of a new and revolutionary art form.