Interesting Facts About Andy Warhol
Pop Art’s most famous son, Andy Warhol, was not wrong when he said that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” But in spite of the fact that he was at once exposed to ridicule and mockery as a fraud and a provocateur and celebrated as a genius, and some critics even went as far as to refer to him as an idiot savant, Warhol’s legacy lives on to this day. Warhol was the leading figure in the American pop art movement, as well as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists.
Why Was Andy Warhol Important?
When comparing Andy Warhol’s works, it becomes apparent that the artist has derived inspiration from a colorful list of sources, from mass-produced products and celebrities to religion and mortality.
While he explored various techniques and media throughout his rich career, he always delivered his own unique interpretation of the subject matter.
Most of his prints and paintings are recognizable for his use of bright and vibrant colors.
Perhaps two of Andy Warhol’s most famous paintings are the silkscreen paintings Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962).
Warhol’s legacy continues to influence popular culture. His work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, and his face is instantly recognizable. As a true pioneer of the Pop Art movement, he has helped forever change how we think about art.
A Talented Artist From an Early Age
Warhol showed talent as an artist from an early age. He would often draw pictures of his favorite movie stars and cartoon characters. His talents were recognized by his teachers, who would often display his artwork in the school hallway.
Young Andy was a shy child and did not have many friends. He would often spend his time alone in his room, drawing and listening to the radio.
His Early Work Was Heavily Influenced by Advertising
Warhol’s early work was heavily influenced by advertising. He often used bright colors and repetitious images, which were similar to the techniques used in commercials.
This clever approach helped launch Warhol’s career and turned him into one of the most famous artists in the world.
In 1962, Warhol created his most famous work, Campbell’s Soup Cans. The series of paintings, which featured 32 different soup cans, was an instant hit.
It was the ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ that gave Warhol his prestigious status in the art community, and the series of paintings and prints remains one of the most recognizable works in pop art history in the US and the world.
A Success Story with Humble Beginnings
A prime example of the son of immigrants living the American dream, Warhol explored the influence of popular culture on people throughout his career. He was fascinated by the way celebrities were worshiped and treated like gods. His work often commented on the shallowness of celebrity culture, and it was this somewhat morbid fascination that set the wheels in motion for the Factory.
Warhol grew up in poverty. Having arrived in the US from Eastern Europe, the family struggled to make ends meet and often had to rely on government assistance.
Despite their financial struggles, Warhol’s parents, who were Slavic peasants from the village of Mikova, present-day Slovakia, were supportive and always encouraged him to pursue his dreams.
Family roots influenced his work heavily. Warhol’s parents, Julia and Andrej Warhola were Rusyn immigrants who came to the United States for a better life. Julia was a homemaker, and Andrej worked as a construction worker and coal miner. Warhol’s parents always encouraged him to pursue his dreams despite their financial struggles.
Warhol’s upbringing in poverty heavily influenced his work. He often explored the themes of wealth and excess in his paintings and sculptures.
A Devout Roman Catholic Who Wanted to Be a Priest
In spite of his outrageous parties, eclectic crowd, and quiet but proud queerness, Andy Warhol was a devout Roman Catholic. He was baptized and raised in the Catholic faith and continued to identify as Catholic throughout his life.
In fact, both his earliest works and his latest ones were religiously themed. He once said, “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is the inside of a church.”
As a child, Warhol wanted to become a priest. He even attended seminary for a short time but ultimately decided against it, opting instead to pursue his love of art.
The Carnegie Institute of Technology Alumni
In 1949, Warhol enrolled at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. He studied art and design and graduated with honors in 1953.
After graduation, Warhol moved to New York City in search of work as an artist. He found a job as a commercial artist and quickly made a name for himself in the advertising world.
Art for the Sake of Dough
Before becoming one of the most famous artists in the world, Warhol worked as a commercial artist. He did illustrations for magazines and advertisements. His first big break came when he was hired to design the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1962.
In 1961, Warhol rented a studio on 47th Street in New York City that would become known as the ‘Factory.’ It was here that he did some of his most famous work, including the Campbell’s Soup Cans and the Marilyn Monroe portraits.
In 1964, Warhol opened his studio, the Factory. The studio was a gathering place for celebs, artists, musicians, and other creative types.
It quickly received notoriety for its hedonistic ways and was often featured in news stories about the “counterculture” of the 1960s. The Factory was also where Warhol filmed many of his experimental films.
In 1968, Warhol moved the Factory to a new location in Union Square. The new space was larger and had room for Warhol’s expanding business ventures, such as his printing press and record label.
Warhol Developed His Own Screen-Printing Technique
In 1962, Warhol developed a new screen-printing technique that he used to mass-produce his work. This new method allowed him to quickly produce prints of his subjects, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.
First Solo Museum Show In 1963
In 1963, Warhol had his first solo museum show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The show, which featured his screen-prints of celebrity portraits, was a huge success.
Shot by Valerie Solanas in 1968
In 1968, Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, a radical feminist who was upset with Warhol for not using her work. Warhol survived the shooting but was left permanently scarred.
The ‘ Velvet Underground.’
In 1965, Warhol started his own record label called Verve, and he discovered, managed, and produced the seminal rock band the Velvet Underground and their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. The artist also had a strong bond with the band’s original lead singer and primary songwriter Lou Reed. Although these two American icons shared a turbulent relationship, the Velvet Underground would go on to become one of the most influential bands in rock history, and the cover art Warhol created for the band remains among the most iconic and instantly recognizable album covers in the history of music.
Published ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol’ in 1975
In 1975, Warhol published his book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. In it, he discusses his views on art, fame, and other topics.
Died Of Complications From Surgery In 1987
Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987, at the age of 58 from complications from surgery. His death was a shock to the art world, and he is still considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century.