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Modern Art: Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol 1983, printed 1990 by Robert Mapplethorpe 1946-1989

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born under the name of Andrew Warhola on the 6th August 1928, in Pittsburgh USA, to parents Andrej and Julia Warhola, Czechoslovakian immigrants.

Andy’s early education was at Holmes School and free art classes at the Carnegie Institute.  From 1945-1949 he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Pictorial Design.

Andy moved to New York in 1949, and in the September, had his first publication entitled “Success is a Job in New York” in Glamour magazine.  His debut into the world of artist/illustrator showed off a new talent, with a whimsical style of drawing.

His work appeared in many main-stream magazines in the 1950’s, including Vogue.  He went on to produce retail window advertising, which led to awards from the Art Director’s Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

During the early part of the 1950’s Andy changed his name from Warhola to Warhol, as his popularity grew.

During the 1950’s, he entered the world, of serious art, based on his experience and expertise within commercial art, and American popular culture.  In 1952 exhibited drawings at the Hugo Gallery in New York, based on the writings of Truman Capote.

1960 saw a change in Andy’s paintings, as he added advertisements and comic strips to his work.  A form of early “Pop Art,” influenced by Abstract Expressionism.  By 1964, his “Brillo Boxes” painting was far removed from Abstract Expressionism as one could get.

Andy worked across many mediums; painter, printmaker, illustrator, film-maker and writer.

In September of 1960, moved to a Lexington Avenue townhouse, which gave him a dedicated studio, located in Manhattan.  From 1962-1964 rented an old Fire House, for additional studio space.

Andy Warhol - Campbells Soup Cans

His work of the 1960’s was centred around advertisements and comic strips.  He created large scale graphic canvases by projecting images onto large canvas panels, and then he would trace the outline of the image.  In 1961, he used a similar process for his “Campbell’s Soup Can Paintings.”

In 1962 Andy explored the art of silk screening; creating a stencil and transferring image onto a porous screen, and apply paint or ink with a rubber squeegee.  He produced dollar bills, Coca-Cola bottles and shipping labels.  By the autumn of 1962, he had moved onto photo-silkscreen works, which involved transferring of a photographic image onto a porous screen.

Warhol changed direction, and produced life-size images of Brillo Box and screen printed their design labels onto blocks of plywood.

In 1963, Andy opted to explore moving mediums, and moved into film making.  He is known to have created some 600 films, from mini films of a few minutes to much larger works.

Andy Warhol - Velvet Underground

In 1967, he developed a project called EPI (Exploding Plastic Inevitable), a multi-media production, which combined the “Velvet Underground Rock Band” with projections of film, light and dance, culminating in a sensory experience of performance art.

In 1968, an attempt upon his life by Valerie Solanas, an acquaintance and radical feminist, led to him distancing himself from his current art scene, and sought out commissions within New York high society.

In the latter part of the 1970’s and early 1980’s Andy returned to the limelight, producing paintings which were abstract by design.  His Oxidation Printing series echoed Abstract Expressionism and its rawness.

In the latter years of his life, he turned to religious subjects, including the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

Andy Warhol one of the most influential artists of the 20th century died on the 22nd February 1987, after suffering postoperative complications from a gall bladder procedure.

His memorial service was held at St.Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, where more than 2,000 people attended.  His final resting place was in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

Andy Warhol - Marilyn Monroe


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