Home / ArtArtist Reimagines Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ with Pop Culture Icons

Artist Reimagines Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ with Pop Culture Icons

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Aja Kusick

My Neighbor Totoro

In Van Gogh Never, an  imaginative ongoing series of paintings, New York-based artist Aja Kusick creatively combines pop culture with Post-Impressionism. By inserting well-known characters and scenes into Vincent van Gogh’s iconic The Starry Night (1889), Kusick invites viewers to see the masterpiece in a playful new light.

The series—which Kusick also refers to as Starry Night Pop Culture—features a range of pop culture staples. Most of her clever additions are universally recognizable cartoon characters, like the Peanuts gang, Spongebob Squarepants, and Winnie the Pooh. In addition to these famous figures, she also paints scenes inspired by memorable films and programs. Selected movies and shows include Fight Club, Back to the Future, and the Harry Potter series. Lastly, the series also features well-known landmarks and destinations around the world, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Taj Mahal.

Given the success of Kusick’s series, one may be surprised to learn that it emerged as the result of a mix-up. When a blog mistakenly attributed her painting of the Eiffel Tower to Van Gogh—an impossible attribution, as the troubled artist died 9 years before the monument’s completion—Kusick was instantly inspired to paint more things that “Van Gogh never” saw. The series’ serendipitous start prompted the artist to look deeper into his practice and embrace his signature style—namely, his tendency toward a “visceral swirl of color.”

You can see more of Kusick’s work on Instagram, and purchase your own paintings and prints on Etsy.

In her Starry Night pop culture series Van Gogh Never, artist Aja Kusick often adds cartoon characters to the iconic scene.

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Lion King

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Winnie the Pooh

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Spongebob Squarepants

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Garfield and Odie

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Calvin and Hobbes

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Peanuts

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Peanuts

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Peanuts

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Aja Kusick

Pokemon

She also finds inspiration in live-action movies and series.

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Back to the Future

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Fight Club

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Doctor Who

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

Harry Potter

In addition to fictional characters and settings, the artist also paints real-life locations in the Starry Night style.

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Hollywood Sign

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Las Vegas Strip

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Golden Gate Bridge

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Eiffel Tower

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Taj Mahal

Pop Culture Starry Night Pop Culture Post-Impressionism Cartoon Van Gogh Painting Van Gogh Never Aja Kusick

The Great Wall of China

Aja Kusick: Website | Instagram | Etsy | Facebook | Behance
h/t: [Bored Panda]

All images via Aja Kusick.

Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.

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