Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on August 6th 1928. His original name was Andrew Warhola. He studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1945 to 1949, before moving to New York where he worked as a commercial artist.
In 1952 his drawings were exhibited at the Hugo gallery and was the first one-man show. Around this time, he published some books of reprints of his own art from the years 1945-49, six in all. In 1957 he was awarded the Art Director’s club award for a shoe advertisement.
In the 60’s he started to make paintings echoing the style of newspaper titles and pages, advertisements and other images that were in mass production. He started using silkscreen printing to create images of icons such as Coca Cola bottles, Campbell’s soup cans, dollar bills, Marilyn Munroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy. Which moved on to car crashes, flowers and the electric chair. Some were made of layers of the same print in different colours to give different effects.
He was imaginative to say the least. In 1963 he made his first film and moved into experimental film making. Some of his films were Sleep, Chelsea Girls, Lonesome Cowboys and Trash. He also managed and produced a band called The Velvet Underground, the band had a rock image that influenced the creation of punk rock. Andy Warhol was shot and nearly killed in 1968.
The name Andy Warhol is probably best known for his pop art with work crossing between celebrity culture, artistic impression and advertising. He worked with many media including screen printing, photography, sculpture, film and music as well as his painting and drawing.
He was openly gay before gay liberation, he had a studio which he called The Factory and it was a place where various intelligent creative people, drag queens, distinguished celebrities, bohemian street people and others would come and meet. He also published a magazine called Interview Magazine which describes itself as “conversations between the most creative minds in fashion, art and entertainment”. It is still running today.
Andy Warhol is a name linked with controversy because of the way he blurred the lines with his art between artistic impression, advertising, fine art and the main stream. In the 1970’s he produced the work of celebrities like Mick Jagger, Diana Ross and John Lennon to name but a few. In 1979 he founded the New York Academy of Art.
Andy Warhol paintings are among the most expensive pieces in the art world. The highest price paid for one of his works is $105 million dollars for Silver Car Crash (double disaster). His home town of Pittsburgh houses the Andy Warhol Museum. It is the largest museum in the United States to represent the work of a single artist.
A hypochondriac who was frightened of hospitals and doctors, he was proved correct when on February 22, 1987, in New York City, gall bladder surgery post-op complications lead to his death. He is buried with his parents in Pittsburgh.