Artist Jasper Johns wanted to explore different ways that people could think about and question the things they see, like, is it a painting, or is it a flag?
When you exercise your eyes, you can see flags almost everywhere! There’s probably one at your school. Three flat flags. Can you say it at least three times really fast? (Three flat flags, three flat flags, three flat flags…..)
If you count those stars on the top flag you might ask, hey, why are there only forty eight? Today there are 50 stars on the American flag for the fifty United States. But when Johns made these three flags back in 1958, Alaska and Hawaii weren’t part of the US yet.
Take another close look. This painting is made with a type of paint called encaustic, which is paint color mixed with melted beeswax. With encaustic, artists can make interesting layers and textures like the brushstrokes in Three Flags.