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Byzantine Icons in Pop Art Lesson Plan
Byzantine Icons in Pop Art Lesson Plan
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Courtney Raney Bui

Courtney Raney Bui

Art Education / MA
Art History

Born in Iowa and raised in Southern California, Courtney Raney’s urban and rural background has influenced her ideals and artistic style. Inspired by her hometown in the Midwest, her contemporary Los Angeles surroundings, and both Modernist and Post-Structuralist theories – Courtney’s style evokes a strong influence from the early 20th century Modern Art movement. Her paintings have qualities of Expressionism and Graphic Art, and her themes lean toward Pop Art and Poststructuralism. With a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, she is still exploring style and color, never settling on one type of brushstroke. Courtney will graduate in the spring of 2024 with her Master’s degree in art history at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.

Courtney’s series of portraits challenge the traditions of fine art. Her “Private Moments” collection has been featured on UK art magazine, Niji ( and her “Icons of Cool” collection has been featured on an HBO original series. Angeleno Magazine featured her “pop block” series in their magazine, and she has been showing her work in galleries in Los Angeles, CA, and Zürich, Switzerland since 2009. She is excited to continue her journey into Post-Modernist art through future works on Feminism, diversity, equal rights, and representing marginalized groups and cultures.

Lesson Plan Inspiration: This piece is part of a collection of famous 20th-century musical icons painted in a Byzantine style, meshing two different time periods to make an older style of painting fresh and new. The word “icon” was used to describe the subject of these religious paintings, and fittingly, pop culture in the 20th century also dubbed certain musicians “icons” as well. Mixing a recognizable face with a recognizable painting style seemed interesting and full of variety as a painting lesson. I would be able to teach some art history about Byzantine culture and the Pop Art movement in the same setting and see how they compared. The exercise of creating a new work like this one would allow students to reflect on the message of both genres and find their own way of merging them. They would learn valuable painting techniques like blending and portrait drawing, as well as multi-media techniques like gold leaf application.

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