The Origins Of British Pop Art

One of the most fascinating artistic movements in both the UK and US over the past 70 years has been the evolution of pop art, and the bright colours and unique styles shaped by collage, sculptor and resin artists alike.

Both the British and American pop art movements developed in very different ways; although both started in the 1950s and focus greatly on pop culture imagery, they each interpret it in very different ways.

British pop art focused on the effects of American pop culture when viewed from a distance and was much closer to the previous avant-garde Dadaism movement of the late 1920s and 1920s.

Dada was a movement that emerged after the outbreak of the First World War that was cynical, satirical and often nonsensical, protesting the ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ of the society that led people into a war to end all wars.

Pop art came from a similar place, particularly in terms of its postmodern ideology and exploration of mass culture, propaganda, a rejection of aesthetic norms and the world after an even more destructive Second World War.

One of the earliest examples of pop art in the form we most commonly associate is ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’ by Richard Hamilton in 1956.

An ironic collage of a range of mass media artefacts of the era, it highlighted a common style used for pop art that explored the implications of pop culture imagery, particularly in the form of American mass advertising, which had by this point borrowed many elements from modern art.

The early British pop art movement was led by the Independent Group, consisting of artists such as William Turnbull, Richard Hamilton and John McHale and highlighted the different approaches their pop art took from modernist art at the time, and even from the later evolution of American pop art.

They embraced the commercialised nature of pop culture rather than adopting the modernist rejection of it or the American pop art scene’s boldness and aggression, leading to a more satirical, humourous and ironic artistic movement.

The Handbags Of Famous Women

If you want a handbag, you will go to a handbag store, perhaps buying the most stylish and fashionable of items. But when it comes to a luxury art handbag sculpture, something truly exceptional is surely required.

That means the handbag that is the subject in question must stand out in some exceptional way. That may be due to its appearance, size or some other visible characteristic. But then again, it could be that the handbag itself has more of a story to tell.

As with so many artefacts, many a handbag will gain importance because of its owner. What could make a more interesting handbag sculpture than one with some stand-out associations?

The Queen will certainly be seen a lot in 2022, with this being her Platinum jubilee.  While there will be various outfits for the fashion fanatics to comment on, many will take note of her handbags whenever she is seen with one.

One only has to look back to 2016 to see this, when Today reported that frequent appearances by the monarch with a Launer handbag helped sales of the brand jump 52 per cent in a year.

Perhaps the woman with whom a handbag is most strongly associated was Margaret Thatcher. The former prime minister, dubbed ‘The Iron Lady’ by the Soviets for her tough character, was seldom seen in public without one and the term ‘handbagging’ was invented to illustrate the notion of her swinging it like a medieval mace when she wanted to get her way or tell someone off.

More conventional fashion icons included Grace Kelly, who once used a Hermes handbag to cover up a baby bump, as well as Audrey Hepburn, who had a wide range of designer bags.

So if you want a custom-made handbag sculpture, there may be many examples linked with famous women that you can choose from.

How Resin Became A Great Art Form

Anyone who is fascinated by and attracted to the sculptures we produce may wonder just how the contemporary resin art that makes such an impact today emerged.

While the origins of some forms of craft can be found way back in the cultures of antiquity and may even be lost in the mists of time, certain styles of art - ranging from painting to sculpture and architecture - developed as particular ‘schools’.

In the case of resin art, the history of using natural resin goes right back to ancient times. After all, it exists in a natural form, secreted from trees and known as amber in its hardened form. It was valued for various purposes, from the Greek belief that it was solidified sunlight to its use as a hallucinogenic drug in some cultures. Naturally, it was ideal for jewellery, especially amber.

Of course, it is now possible to make resin synthetically and, like glass, it can be coloured, moulded and shaped, making it ideal for jewellery, sculptures, various receptacles and furnishings. However, unlike glass it is not easily broken and can withstand hard impacts.

This versatility and robustness made resin an ideal substance to use in art and sculpture, not least because it came with the ultimate promise; that while on the one hand something spectacular and beautiful could be created with it to delight art lovers, collectors, and anyone who wanted their home or property to feature something exceptional, it would not be fragile and vulnerable.

When you see modern sculptures such as those featuring handbags, this is the most contemporary use of resin. As the Tate notes, this has proved popular with modern sculptors - including some items in its own collection.

Some may say art is now more daring, which is arguably true, though of course everything is in the eye of the beholder. But while the likes of Damian Hirst might sometimes push the limits, we believe the representation of fashion in our resin art has a broad and more lasting appeal.

5 Questions with the Creator of Artbag

Meet local Artist and Mother of ARTBAG; known to her art students as Debra Franses. She is gaining recognition for her highly desirable Resin Handbag sculptures in the UK and throughout Buckinghamshire.  Now represented by Clarendon Fine Art with Galleries in Marlow, Beaconsfield, Windsor and nationwide; you can also meet her in person at her studio showroom in Old Amersham High Street.

  1. What is ARTBAG? A giant resin handbag selfie! A transparent Sculpture in Resin shaped like a Handbag  - A portrait of things and people we love full of memories and objects that hold value to us for a myriad of reasons. A baby’s first shoe, a ring, a poem, postcard, badge, ticket to a Bowie concert , a favourite lipstick, a perfume or sunglasses, old watch of a beloved relative, toy car, Lego and so on…all of this encased in a transparent handbag, preserved forever. Perfect for a mother’s day present!
  2. But why a handbag? We are what we carry, literally our beautiful baggage. There is actually something called 'handbagology' by Karen Pine, a Psychology Professor. You may have seen the recent exhibition at the V&A on “Handbags inside out” where the curators explored themes such as handbags as Status symbols, Celebrity worship, believing a bag is an ‘investment’, Identity and Feeling fat? The bag always fits…!
  3. What is it made from? Resin, It looks like glass because it’s perfectly transparent. I love the idea of letting the light come in and revealing what is usually hidden. I also use 22 ct gold plated barbed wire to represent the gilded cage some women may find themselves in as they give up careers for motherhood’s demands.
  4. What gave you the idea to put things inside? I like to play with the memories an object can Its so personal, intimate and individual. My mum is always passing on objects she has collected from my family and each one tells a story. When we lose our memories, we lose our identity. I love how objects hold nostalgic pleasures for the whole family.
  5. Best piece of advice?

Do what you love, do it well and with passion and your audience will find you from my CSM tutor in 2004. Also, my friend from NYC Platon said to me in 2008 it takes a good 15 years to become an overnight success!





Artbags on View at East West Fine Art Naples Florida

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve—or display your wants on the shelf?

British artist Debra Franses creates resin sculptures in the form of transparent handbags, purses, and briefcases containing an array of symbolic items: lipstick tubes, a crystal-encrusted Chanel No. 5 eau de parfum bottle, a string of pearls and glittery ring, dollar bills and Bitcoin symbols, and sunglasses. With plenty of kitsch, the Artbags are a nod to Pop Art in a digital age and demonstrate a construct of how what we curate and display likewise curates and displays us.

Debra Franses' works are often commissioned
Franses’ works are often commissioned

In her works, Franses explores ideas that probe consumption and our intricate relationships with material objects, including as consumable fashion goods and as items that reflect our thoughts, loves, and ambitions.        

Franses’ Artbags arrived last month and are being shown exclusively in Southwest Florida at East West Fine Art in Mercato. Because of their personal nature, they are frequently custom-ordered. Prices, ranging from $9,000 to $35,000, are dictated by style, size, and the value and number of designer objects inside. 

“Every bag is a distillation of who Debra has met, where she has been, and what she has seen,” says gallery co-owner Leeza Arkhangelskaya

NY Museum Of Arts and Design Examines Garmenting

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York is to host its first exhibition dedicated to the use of clothing as a medium of visual art.

According to a press release, opening on 12 March and running through to 14 August, Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Art will display the work of 35 international contemporary artists, from emerging talent to established names, some of whom will be exhibiting in the US for the first time.

The exhibit aims to showcase garmenting- the making or altering of clothing for expressive purposes, with the artists creating garments, sculpture, installation, and performance art that transforms dress into a critical tool for exploring issues of subjectivity, identity, and difference.

The show has been curated by New York-based art historian, curator, and adjunct professor in the School of Graduate Studies at SUNY | Fashion Institute of Technology Alexandra Schwartz.

The exhibition will examine how garmenting uses the language of fashion to challenge traditional divisions of form and function, and cats a critical eye on the construction of gender, political activism, and address cultural differences.

Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Artwill span two floors of the museum and will be organised around five interrelated themes - functionality, gender, activism, cultural difference, and performance.

In a statement, Schwartz said: Despite the current ubiquity of garmenting as a visual arts practice, it has not previously been examined or theorised. This exhibition centres contemporary artistsexploration of dress as a formal trope and critical tool, using the language of fashion to address fundamental aspects of subjectivity, including gender, class, race, and ethnicity.

Artists set to be featured in the exhibition includes Xenobia Bailey, Raphaël Barontini, Zoë Buckman, Nick Cave, Jeffrey Gibson, Annette Messager, Mary Sibande, Nazareth Pacheco, Mark Newport, Yinka Shonibare, Jakkai Siributr and Andrea Zittel.

Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Artwill open at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York on March 12.


If youre looking for fashion as art, and interested in our luxury art handbags, visit our website today.

Dior Unveils Twelve Artists’ Dior Lady Art Handbags

The Lady Dior bag is a classic for the Parisian house and twelve artists from around the world have put their visual art touch on the classic tote.

According to Elle, the handbag took its name from Princess Diana, who, while she was still Lady Diana, was always seen carrying the Dior Chouchou bag, as it used to be called before the fashion house changed the name in her honour.

As the rectangular bag, dubbed an architectural feat, has continued through the generations, it has captured the heart and eyes of women all around there world, and in 2016, Diors creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri reimagined the Lady Dior bag by kickstarting the Dior Lady Art Project.

According to Dior: It is a concentration of the Houses excellence, season after season, as it continues to forge its timeless legacy, at the crossroads of modernity and excellence- becoming an object of art and desire, revisited by artists from around the world.

Now in its sixth edition, the fashion house has picked 12 artists from all around the world to work with designers to reimagine the bag through their art-filled eyes.

The artists arent given restrictions as they design to their own expression.

This years artists have come from Dubai to Shanghai, to Tokyo and Dublin. They are: Manal Aldowayan, Gisela Colón, Johan Creten, Genieve Figgis, Gigisue, Antonin Hako, Zhang Huan, Leonhard Hurzlmeier, Yukimasa Ida, Daisuke Ohba, Li Songsong, and Lina Iris Viktor.

The 12 artists have used carouse techniques and craftsmanship for their handbags, which all express various sides of the artistspersonalities. In a final touch, all the finished bags are adorned with delicate Diorcharms reminiscent of the lucky talismans that founder Christian Dior was known to carry with him.

This years Dior Lady Art bags are a bridge between the notorious house and global cultures and as Dior has put it: A connection through the combined prism of the imagination and exceptional savoir-faire. An ode to freedom.


If youre looking for bespoke designer handbags, visit our website today.

Iconic Bags From The Movies

We all escaped into movies and TV during the lockdown, seeking distraction and comfort, whether from Hollywoods Golden Era to Familiar Disney favourites. We also found inspiration in movies, from interior design to fashion and accessories.

Handbags are often a prominent accessory on the silver and small screens, as any Sex and the City fan can confirm! We wanted to have a look at just a few of the bags that have completed looks, helped to define a character, or even provided an important plot point in some of our favourite films!


Chanel Black Alligator Kiss Chain Bag - Breakfast at Tiffany's 

Iconiccan be a little bit overused these days, but everything the Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffanys was truly iconic, from her bespoke Givenchy dresses to the orange funnel-necked coat. But it was her accessories that stood out the most and made the outfits.

The most coveted item has to be Holly Golightlys Chanel Black Alligator Kiss Chain Bag, which elevates her casual jumper, capri pants, and ballet flats, as well as being gorgeous and is effortlessly stylish.


'Carpet Bag' - Mary Poppins

Practically perfect in every way, Mary Poppinsfloral carpet bag in the Tardis of handbags, able to conjure up any item as its needed. Carpet bags were inexpensive, practical items common in the 1800s and were not thought of as particularly desirable, before the film's release in 1964.  

However, as they were often made from offcuts of carpets, they were also a sustainable item, built to last a lifetime.


Black beaded handbag/grappling hook - Mr & Mrs Smith

Angelina wears a rather distracting outfit in this scene, but eagle-eyed viewers may remember the elegant medium-sized black beaded handbag with the large circular handles that turns out to be a cunningly disguised grappling hook. 

As with Angelinas character, Jane, in the movie, the bag is yet just a masquerade, something that looks gorgeous, but not all that it seems to be, a key motif throughout the film.

And who among us hasnt wished they had a grappling hook to escape an awkward situation?

However, if youre looking for classic designer handbags for less in the way of secret agent gadgets, and more for everyday items, visit our online store today.

The Birkin Bag: Where It All Began!

When you think of luxury ‘it’ handbags, it’s inevitable that the Hermes Birkin bag is where your thoughts stray to first of all. Initially appearing on our radar in the 1980s, the Birkin - as it is known - has since gone on to claim the top spot in the hierarchy of all stylish handbags… and it’s not hard to see why!

The design conception of Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas back in 1984, the story goes that the idea for the Birkin was born out of a conversation between Dumas and actress Jane Birkin on an Air France flight from Paris to London. 

Apparently, Jane’s belongings tipped out of her handbag and Dumas, who she happened to be sitting next to, suggested that a bag with pockets would be more beneficial. They then went on to discuss what Jane’s ideal handbag would be… and the rest is history!

Before the Birkin arrived, the Hermes line was characterised by the Kelly bag, very boxy and supremely ladylike. But the Birkin handbag, in contrast, was far roomier yet still elegant, with handles so that it could either be carried on the wrist or by hand.

Interestingly, however, the Birkin wasn’t an immediate success and it wasn’t until the 90s that it really started commanding serious attention. Now, of course, it’s incredibly difficult to get your hands on a true-blue Birkin - so add it to your accessories wish list and hope for the best!

In the meantime, satisfy your sartorial urges with ARTBAG’s reimagining of the Birkin handbag! Our bags are cast in resin and feature all sorts of different objects inside, really brought to life and visually intensified by the resin itself. If you’d like to have a bespoke bag created, get in touch with us today.

The Little Red Bag!

I honestly had no idea how many bags I made with red in them until I took a look at this edit…I love the colour red!

The lipstick, the nails, the bright scarf, the tacky shoes my father hated, Dorothy’s red slippers, and Christmas! Santa…the bringer of gifts happiness and imagination.

Still let’s support small independent businesses and makers with this little edit from £35 and up!

Lucky Artbag
This beautiful fun Artbag was a culmination of days spent hauling my toddler around New York City in 2008. Days filled with treats, Disney, toy cars, and so much fun just being in the city. I certainly felt like the luckiest mum alive.

The collaboration with What’s His Name has been growing in popularity the iconic Doggie bags are based on the large sculptures recently displayed in Covent Garden and the collaborative friendship continues to grow momentum with Sebastian Burdon pictured below.

The collaborations with LA artist Betsy Enzenburger are all sold out however collectors get excited …more are coming soon!

Keychain Artbags
The Keychain artbags are for display or wearing, hang them off your jeans, your favorite handbag or in a key hook with your spare key…there are 2 shades of red, one solid and one transparent…then, of course, there is the miniature manbag a replica LV briefcase….the miniature of the James bond full-size bag…
why not get the pair of his and hers? Beautifully gift wrapped, this is a great gift for your favourite couple…or for you and him or her !!

These Small artbags are all ON SALE snd sit 13 cm tall and 10 cm wide 3 cm deep and are beautiful ornaments. Each one has a different finish and they are a steal now in my Xmas sale!

Small Artbags
These Small artbags sit 13 cm tall and 10 cm wide 3 cm deep and are beautiful ornaments. Each one has a different finish and they are a steal now in my Xmas sale!
Passion, Lady Mcbeth, and Lipstick Red…if you are a fan of this firey colour then this could be your lucky day!