Left: Toll Call Art Print; Right: It’s Half Past Get Out Art Print, both by Niagara Detroit
Niagara Detroit has sung with punk bands such as Destroy All Monsters (D.A.M.) and Dark Carnival since 1974 and used her art-school background to create album artwork for the bands she’s performed with.
In 1996, the artist teamed up with a local Detroit gallery, CPop, and started work on the ‘Niagara Girls’ series. Just as the popularity of Burlesque star Dita Von Teese exploded, these art prints took off, channelling an exaggerated 1940s look based on pin-ups such as Bettie Page and the moody pout of iconic star Lauren Bacall.
Niagara’s own website describes the women she portrays as appearing “in many female guises…feminist swagger with drop dead gorgeous looks and an equally dangerous demeanour. Hard-boiled, tough talking gals who would rather dispatch a man than put up with any of his antics”. Her pop art portraits make explicit a no-nonsense attitude aimed at deflating the egos of chauvinistic men, perhaps taking their cues from the heroine of Roy Lichtenstein’s Masterpiece, her speech bubble dripping with sarcasm.