In 1961 Mel Ramos, working outside of the burgeoning New York scene, created his own version of Pop Art. He painted comic book heroines like the Phantom Lady, Sheena, Gale Allen-Girl Squad and Wild Girl. In 1964 he found his unique voice and signature kitsch style of painting sultry nudes with his series of Peek-a-boo paintings. Moving from scantily clad comic book heroines to nudes was a simple step. Ramos recalled, "I finally just removed the costumes" (quoted in E. Claridge, The Girls of Mel Ramos, Chicago, 1975, p. 60).
Paintings like Peek-a-boo, Platinum #2 are some of the most voyeuristic and sexual of Ramos's images. They convey a strong sense of ironic kitsch, the dominant theme of his work. Elizabeth Claridge writes, "What the butler saw through the keyhold was a girl undressing or undressed supposedly unaware of his prying eye. The nudes on the other side of Ramos's keyholes have apparently spotted the prying eye immediately and are quite unabashed by it. They pout and pose as though to a camera or to their own reflections. Rather than seeming tantalizingly out of reach beyond the keyhole, they seem easily available through it" (Ibid, p. 60).
Having studied with Wayne Thiebaud, Ramos exaggerates his sexualized imagery by using a luscious brushstroke that he took from Thiebaud's example. Robert Rosenblum writes, "Above all, there was Wayne Thiebaud, whose regimented line-ups of row after row of American junk food were rendered like Ramos' girls, fruit and comics, with a jarring combination of the overtly attractive and the covertly ugly...from the moist surfaces of creamy artifice it was clear that Ramos, even 3000 miles from New York and 6000 from Europe, had touched the very pulse of the 60s in the way that new art always changes our perception of old art. The work of Jeff Koons, in particular, has altered our view of Ramos, turning his early work into a prophesy of later excursions into the forbidden territory of erotic kitsch" (R. Rosenblum, Mel Ramos: Pop Art Images, Cologne, 1994, p. 17).