Pop Art People: The Ultimate Guide to Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928 to Slovakian immigrants Ondrej
and Julia Warhola in Pennsylvania. He was a popular and well-recognized artist whose
contributions to the artistic world came in the form of painting, film making, illustration
and other artistic mediums. During his life, Warhol's career saw him as a successful
illustrator for Glamour magazine to film making. However, he is likely
best remembered as one of the founders of the style of visual art known as pop art.
His cultural contributions extended beyond the visual however, as he was also an
author and dabbled in music by managing the music band called the Velvet Underground
Warhol's interest in art developed at an early age during a time of illness. At
8 years old, he contracted a potentially fatal disease called St. Vitus's Dance,
or Chorea. This disease left him bedridden for months. During this time his mother
began teaching him to draw, which resulted in a lifelong love of drawing and artwork.
Also during this time Warhol developed an interest in comic books, film and film
stars. At the age of 9 he was given his first camera and he began taking and developing
his own photographs, setting the stage for his interest in photography. Somewhat
of an outcast at school, these interests became a large part of Warhol's life. In
1942 Andy's father died and willed his life's savings to his son for a college eduction.
When he graduated from high school in 1945, Warhol attended Carnegie Institute for
Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree upon graduating in 1949.
After graduation, he decided to change his last name from Warhola to Warhol and
moved to New York. One of his first jobs as a commercial artist was for Glamour
magazine. Throughout the 1950s he continued to make a name for himself while working
for an impressive roster of clients such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue
and Tiffany & Co. As a result, Warhol became one of the most successful commercial
artists of that time. After his success as a commercial artist he began focusing
on painting and drawing and by 1952 had his first solo exhibition. By 1956 his work
was included at a group show at The Museum of Modern Art.
It was the 1960s that brought about Andy Warhol's most successful accomplishments
that would make his work recognized world round. By 1961 he began creating paintings
that were focused on mass-produced commercial items. This concept became known as
pop-art. In 1962, he debuted his famous paintings called 32 Campbell's Soup Cans
that first brought mass attention to his work. After the positive reception of the
soup cans he continued to painted every day items from Coca Cola bottles to dollar
signs and vacuum cleaners. As these items and his style became increasingly popular
so did paintings of and for celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley
in 1963 and his famous images of Marilyn Monroe shortly after her death in 1962.
His painting of Elvis Presley called Eight Elvises was originally revealed
in 1963 and is a one of a kind, unlike most of his other works which were mass-produced.
In 2008 it was sold for $100 million by an unknown buyer making it one of the most
valuable paintings of all time. His 32 Campbell's Soup Cans now resides
at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The cans are arranged in the chronological
order that the soups were originally produced by Campbell's, starting with Tomato.
Also in the 60s Warhol began working out of his first studio called The Factory.
Because it was painted in silver and foil it was sometimes referred to as the Silver
Factory. The Factory was a place where he produced his artwork and began producing
films. He had a group of individuals called his Superstars, that he worked with
on a regular basis for his films, art and music. He and his Superstars produced
hundreds of films such as the 1966 film called The Chelsea Girls. The band
The Velvet Underground was discovered by Warhol and played at The Factory as his
house band. They were introduced to a model and one of his entourage named Nico
who joined the band. Warhol produced the groups first album called The Velvet Underground
and Nico. In addition to being a place of art, the Factory also became
a popular hangout for celebrities and socialites and was frequently the location
for wild and lavish parties that often included sex and drugs.
Warhol was nearly killed in 1968 by the radical feminist Valerie Solanas when she
shot him in the chest at his new Factory. Following this near death experience the
Factory became much more controlled and Warhol began expanding his artistic talent
to include television, commissioned works and the co-founding of the magazine called
Interview. His commissioned portraits were popular amongst sports figures,
politicians and other high profile individuals. At the age of 58, Warhol underwent
routine gall bladder surgery at New York Hospital on February 21, 1987. He died
from sudden cardiac arrest while recovering from his surgery on February 22, 1987.
Even after his death, Warhol's art continues to serve as an inspiration to all artists.
His paintings changed how art is perceived by the world and they have become an
enduring part of American culture.
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"Warhol and Music"