Elvis Presley framed canvas pop art print by Kerwin Blackburn at the Crypt Gallery Norwich

Elvis Presley’s Legacy: The King’s Iconic Popularity in Art

Artist Kerwin Blackburn explores why Elvis is such a popular figure for artists in the pop art movement, such as Andy Warhol

Elvis Presley, often referred to as “The King of Rock and Roll,” continues to have a lasting worldwide impact on art and culture, long after his passing. From his ground-breaking music to his charismatic presence on screen, Elvis captivated audiences worldwide. He remains one of the most famous celebrity icons of all time.

However, another fascinating side of his iconic celebrity appeal is his portrayal in paintings and art – and particularly pop art – that truly underscores his lasting impact. As a UK artist who has captured Elvis Presley in their own unique pop art painting, this is a topic of great interest to me.

Elvis Presley’s iconic status, striking image and multifaceted persona make him a prime subject for artists and a key Pop Art icon. Andy Warhol famously depicted Elvis in his silkscreen paintings, “Double Elvis”, “Triple Elvis”, and “Eight Elvises”; showcasing his enduring influence on pop culture.

Elvis Presley TCB lightning bolt music pop art painting and poster prints | By Kerwin
Me with my Elvis Presley pop art painting

In this article, I’ll discuss the reasons behind Elvis’s enduring popularity among artists, particularly within the vibrant world of pop art. I’ll also explore various depictions of “The King” – including some iconic pieces by pop art pioneer Andy Warhol. So let’s Take Care of Business and get started on this journey into Elvis’ artistic legacy.

Elvis Presley’s Profound Impact on Art & Culture

Elvis Presley’s influence transcends mere entertainment; it extends into the very fabric of art and culture. His meteoric rise from humble beginnings to global stardom reshaped the landscape of music, film, art and even advertising. Read more about his career journey and what made him so famous in my blog post here.

Elvis Presley’s iconic status, striking image and multifaceted persona make him a prime subject for artists and a key Pop Art icon. Andy Warhol famously depicted Elvis in his silkscreen paintings, “Double Elvis”, “Triple Elvis”, and “Eight Elvises”; showcasing his enduring influence on pop culture.

Elvis’s iconic image became synonymous with rebellion, youth, and raw energy, captivating audiences across generations. Beyond his musical prowess and silver screen charisma, Presley’s impact on fine art, particularly within the pop art movement, is undeniable.

Elvis Presley red jumpsuit

Artists were drawn to his enigmatic persona, crafting vivid interpretations that reflected both his larger-than-life presence and his enduring legacy. Through vibrant colours, bold lines, and innovative techniques, Elvis Presley became not just a subject for artistic exploration but a symbol of cultural significance.

In the genre of pop art, his image continues to inspire creativity and provoke thought, showcasing the timeless allure of “The King” in the ever-evolving tapestry of artistic expression. Explore my own ‘By Kerwin’ striking Elvis pop art painting and shop prints here.

Elvis Presley framed canvas pop art print by Kerwin Blackburn
A framed print of my Elvis T.C.B. lightning bolt painting

Why Are There So Many Paintings of Elvis Presley?

The sheer volume of Elvis-themed artwork begs the question: why the enduring fascination? Beyond his stratospheric fame as the world’s first rock ‘n’ roll icon, another key factor lies in Elvis Presley’s unparalleled ability to transcend time and cultural boundaries. His charisma, talent, and rebellious spirit captured the imaginations of millions, ensuring his status as a global icon.

Furthermore, Elvis’s multifaceted persona offers artists a rich tapestry of inspiration. From his electrifying stage presence to his charismatic smile, each facet of Elvis’s identity invites reinterpretation and exploration. From his early years through his U.S. Army stint, film career, and then later Vegas live years, there is much inspiration through which to capture Elvis in his different guises.

Additionally, Elvis’s universal appeal resonates across generations, making him a subject of fascination for both seasoned fans and newcomers alike. His impact on music, fashion, and popular culture ensures that Elvis Presley remains not just a historical figure but a timeless symbol of innovation and rebellion.

As artists continue to seek inspiration from his legacy, the abundance of Elvis-themed artwork serves as a testament to his enduring influence on the world stage. View my own Elvis Presley T.C.B. lightning bolt pop art painting and shop prints here.

Pop! Goes The Easel | Solo Art Exhibition by Kerwin Blackburn, Crypt Gallery Norwich November-December 2023 | Elvis Presley
My Elvis Presley pop art painting on display at an exhibition

Elvis Presley’s Impact on Pop Art: Why is Elvis such a popular subject for artists?

Elvis Presley’s status as an icon of pop culture makes him an irresistible subject for pop artists. His larger-than-life persona, characterised by charisma, rebellion, and a sense of raw energy, embodies the very essence of pop art.

Artists are drawn to Elvis not only for his musical talent but also for the cultural significance he represents. Through their vibrant and dynamic interpretations, pop artists pay homage to Elvis’s enduring legacy while also offering commentary on themes such as fame, consumerism, and the cult of celebrity.

In pop art, Elvis is often depicted in bold colours, with exaggerated features and iconic symbols like his trademark pompadour hairstyle, glittering jumpsuits, and his iconic sneer. My own striking Elvis Presley pop art painting incorporates his lightning bolt emblem, as a nod to his “Taking Care of Business” motto (and also a pop art nod to another global icon, David Bowie).

These motifs serve not only to celebrate Elvis’s image but also to deconstruct and re-contextualise it within the framework of contemporary art. By incorporating Elvis into their works, pop artists engage in a dialogue with both the past and the present, offering new perspectives on a figure who continues to captivate audiences worldwide.

Elvis Presley TCB lightning bolt music pop art painting and poster prints | By Kerwin
Prints of my Elvis Presley pop art painting are available from my online shop – fast worldwide delivery

Andy Warhol’s Depiction of The King: Double Elvis, Triple Elvis, and Eight Elvises!

Introduction to Andy Warhol’s Iconic Elvis Presley Series

Andy Warhol, a leading figure in the pop art movement and a source of inspiration for my own paintings, cemented his place in music pop art history with his iconic series of Elvis Presley paintings.

Warhol’s fascination with celebrity culture and mass production found its perfect subject in Elvis, whose image he reproduced with mesmerising effect. Through his innovative techniques and bold compositions, Warhol transformed Elvis into a symbol of the modern age, immortalising “The King” in a series of mesmerising portraits.

Double Elvis (source: Christie's)
Double Elvis by Andy Warhol, 1963 (source: Christie’s)

Detailed Analysis of Double Elvis

Among Warhol’s most renowned works is “Double Elvis” (1963) a striking depiction of Presley in a doubled image, evoking the duplicity of fame and the commodification of celebrity. Created using silkscreen ink and acrylic paint on canvas, Double Elvis captures the essence of Warhol’s artistic vision: repetition, mass production, and the blurring of reality and representation.

This piece, with its dual images of Presley in gun-slinging cowboy attire – taken from a still from the film Flaming Star – has an immediacy in which the viewer is confronted with the intense stare of Elvis. Warhol’s choice of Elvis was an interesting one; there were many far more successful Western actors to choose from, and Flaming Star was a relatively small film title of Elvis’.

By highlighting the intersection of music and film through the use of Elvis as its subject, Double Elvis embodies  the complexity of celebrity and fame in a changing era. Double Elvis sold at auction in New York for the staggering sum of $37 million (£23 million).

Triple Elvis by Andy Warhol (source: Christie's)
Triple Elvis by Andy Warhol (source: Christie’s)

Exploration of the Sales Prices of Triple Elvis and Eight Elvises at Auctions

Following the success of Double Elvis, Warhol then took his depiction of Elvis further, using the same image, creating “Triple Elvis” and the whopping “Eight Elvises” in the same year.

Warhol’s Elvis series has not only captivated art enthusiasts but also fetched staggering prices at auctions. “Triple Elvis” and “Eight Elvises”, part of the same series, have commanded millions of dollars in sales.

“Triple Elvis”, featuring three overlapping images of Presley in cowboy attire, fetched $81.9m (£51.9m) at auction in New York. The sale further highlighted the enduring allure of Warhol’s interpretation of The King as a pop culture icon. Similarly, “Eight Elvises”, a mesmerising collage of eight identical images of Presley, continues to astound art collectors with its innovative composition and use of Warhol’s iconic repetition.

Eight Elvises sold for $100m in 2008. This made Warhol one of only five artists to have sold a painting for $100m or more (the others at the time were Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock).

Eight Elvises by Andy Warhol (source: Wikipedia)
Eight Elvises by Andy Warhol (source: Wikipedia)

The Impact of Warhol’s Paintings on the Perception of Elvis in Pop Culture

Warhol’s Elvis paintings have had a profound impact on the perception of Elvis in pop culture, elevating him to the status of an enduring icon. By immortalising Presley in his distinctive style, Warhol not only celebrated the singer’s cultural significance but also transformed him into a symbol of mass media and consumerism.

The widespread acclaim and astronomical prices garnered by Warhol’s Elvis series have solidified Presley’s status as a pop culture legend, ensuring his legacy endures for generations to come.

Warhol helped inspire generations of other artists to also paint Elvis – including me with my unique pop art portrait of The King.

Elvis Presley pop art Jackson Pollock-inspired painting prints By Kerwin Blackburn
My first Elvis painting featured a dramatic lightning bolt-inspired yellow and black colour scheme

Other Famous Pop Art Paintings of Elvis Presley

Showcase of Notable Pop Art Pieces Featuring Elvis Presley by Various Artists

Elvis Presley’s enduring appeal has inspired numerous artists to create captivating pop art pieces that pay homage to “The King”. From bold reinterpretations of his iconic image to imaginative compositions that explore his cultural significance, these artworks offer a diverse and engaging perspective on Elvis’s legacy.

Artists such as Sir Peter Blake and Shepard Fairey have contributed iconic pieces to the canon of Elvis-themed pop art, each infusing their unique style and vision into their portrayals of the legendary singer. Peter Blake incorporates Elvis’ portrait image with an American flag and a crate of Coca-Cola in a piece termed – after an Elvis song – ‘American Trilogy’. Blake also produced an Elvis collage titled ‘Elvis in Paris’.

In 2022 animator Richard Noble produced a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired pop art music video of Elvis’ first single, That’s Alright (below).

Pop art-themed, Roy Lichtenstein-inspired official video for Elvis’ first single, ‘That’s Alright’

Discussion on Different Interpretations and Styles Employed in These Artworks

The plethora of Elvis-themed pop art allows for a rich tapestry of interpretations and styles, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the singer’s persona. Some artists choose to emphasise Elvis’s status as a cultural icon, employing vibrant colours and bold compositions to capture his larger-than-life presence.

Others explore themes of fame, celebrity, and identity, using innovative techniques to deconstruct and reimagine Elvis’s image. From Warhol’s iconic silkscreens to Blake’s intricate collages, each artwork offers a fresh perspective on Elvis’s enduring legacy, inviting viewers to reconsider the significance of “The King” in the pantheon of pop culture.

Through their diverse approaches and interpretations, these pop art pieces not only celebrate Elvis Presley’s impact but also underscore his timeless appeal as an icon of music, fashion, and rebellion.

'American Trilogy' Elvis pop art by Sir Peter Blake (source: Artsy)
‘American Trilogy’ Elvis pop art by Sir Peter Blake (source: Artsy)

My ‘By Kerwin’ Elvis Presley TCB Lightning Bolt Pop Art Painting

In addition to the renowned works of the pop art masters above, my own contribution to the Elvis Presley legacy comes in the form of my vibrant pop art painting. Inspired by Elvis’s iconic TCB lightning bolt emblem and his electrifying stage presence, my Elvis Presley painting seeks to capture the essence of “The King” in a contemporary style.

Description of the artwork, including its style, motifs, and inspiration

This dynamic piece features bold colours and my energetic Jackson Pollock-inspired action painting splatter technique. It also features bold contours characteristic of the pop art movement and Roy Lichtenstein’s comic book style. The painting measures 24×36” and is acrylic on canvas, and is entirely hand-drawn and hand-painted.

The TCB lightning bolt, a symbol of Elvis’s motto, “Taking Care of Business”, takes center stage, surrounded by swirling patterns that evoke the spirit of rock and roll. The lightning bolt across Elvis’ face is a contemporary pop art take on his famous emblem, as well as a subtle nod to another music icon, David Bowie.

Elvis Presley TCB lightning bolt music pop art painting and poster prints | By Kerwin
Elvis Presley pop art painting By Kerwin

For Elvis enthusiasts and art collectors alike, my painting is available as premium canvas prints that can be purchased exclusively at my online shop. Prints come in multiple sizes, with fast worldwide delivery. Embrace the spirit of rock and roll with this unique piece that pays homage to one of music’s greatest legends.

My painting is also available on t-shirtscontact me to enquire.

By Kerwin t-shirts in Vietnam | Elvis Presley | Jimi Hendrix
By Kerwin t-shirts


Elvis Presley’s impact on art and pop culture remains as powerful today as ever before. From his electrifying performances to his iconic image, “The King” continues to inspire artists across the globe. As we’ve explored in this article, Elvis’s influence extends far beyond music and film; permeating the world of fine art, particularly within the vibrant genre of pop art.

I encourage you to explore further into Elvis’s story and the rich tapestry of Elvis-themed art, exploring the diverse interpretations and styles that pay homage to his enduring legacy. Whether it’s admiring the iconic works of Andy Warhol or discovering new creations by emerging artists, there’s something uniquely captivating about Elvis-inspired artwork that resonates with audiences of all ages.

For those looking to add a touch of rock and roll flair to their homes or art collections, I invite you to view prints of my Elvis Presley pop art painting in my online shop. Bring a piece of “The King” into your life! May Elvis Presley’s timeless allure continue to inspire and ignite imaginations for generations to come.

What other famous artworks of Elvis Presley can you think of? I’d love to know! View my Elvis Presley TCB Lightning Bolt painting and shop prints from my online shop

Learn more about the meaning of Elvis’ “TCB” motto and lightning bolt logo in my blog post here. You can also find out exactly what made Elvis so talented – and famous – here.

View my full range of Jackson Pollock-inspired pop art paintings and prints of your favourite music and pop culture icons at www.bykerwin.com. High-definition printing, fast worldwide delivery and satisfaction guaranteed. You can follow my art progress on Instagram and Facebook.

By Kerwin pop art music paintings at The Other Art Fair London panoramic landscape photo
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