Andy Warhol Artworks
Life and Times
Andy Warhol was born and raised in Pittsburgh, the son of poor Austro-Hungarian migrants. His birth name was Andrew Warhola, but he shortened this when a young adult to the name famous today. As a child he suffered acutely from scarlet fever – this left him with a market skin blotchiness, which stayed with him for life. (He was teased with the name Spot by his school mates). From early on, Warhol showed artistic promise, going to the Carnegie Institute of Technology to study commercial art. While at the Institute he developed a characteristic ‘blotted-line’ style.
In 1949 he moved with a classmate to New York. Here he began to develop a successful career in commercial art, with projects for a variety of big brands like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Tiffanys. His standout work for the struggling shoe company I. Miller both served to revitalize the company’s fortunes and launch Warhol on the path to artistic fame.
In the sixties, Warhol steered away from commercial art, instead concentrating on pure art. Though branded objects like soup cans and brillo boxes continued to provide his inspiration, lending themselves ideal to the Warhol treatment of simplification, replication and color distortion. Warhol moved toward a silk-screen process to produce his works – this allowed assistants to mass-produce his arresting images. In 1962 he moved to ‘The Factory’, a small warehouse space, which he set up as a mini production line for artistic works.
Warhol had an insatiable appetite for exploring different media and setting new boundaries. He branched into art movies, creating over 300 experimental films. His first movie, called Sleep, showed nothing but a man sleeping for nearly 7 hours. (Perhaps not surprisingly, this aspect of Warhol has failed to ignite the public’s enthusiasm).
In 1968 Warhol survived a shooting by his assistant Valerie Solanis. She said her reason was 'He had too much control over my life'. Warhol’s magnetic, but often contemptuous personality often proved destructive to those around him. Witness the dismissive and disdainful treatment he dished out to Edie Sedgwick, his companion and muse in the middle sixties.
In the seventies, Warhol turned toward making portraits of celebrities, such as Mick Jagger. In 1975 his book, |The Philosophy of Andy Warhol was published. The book contained his idea that he’d moved on from pure art to business art. He also started a magazine called Interview, which is still published today.
Andy Warhol died in 1987, after complications arose during a gall bladder operation