American Masters: Andy Warhol

"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it."

Even if Andy Warhol implies in his own words above to see him and his art at face value, much about him prompts people to probe deeper into his life and find possible meanings in his work. This installment of American Masters is a tribute to the influential American artist whose life and works continue to fascinate creative minds to this day.

Photo via De Vorzon Gallery

Born Andrej Varhola (Americanized into Andrew Warhola) on August 6, 1928, he was the youngest of the four children of Ondrej and Julia Warhola, immigrants from Czechoslovakia who settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The couple’s first child died before they moved to the United States. He had two older brothers: Paul, born in 1923; and John, born in 1925.

In his youth, Warhol suffered from Sydenham’s chorea, a nervous system ailment that causes quick, jerky, involuntary movements of the extremities, believed to have stemmed from scarlet fever. He eventually became fearful of hospitals and doctors. While he was often bedridden, he would listen to the radio, draw, and put photos of Hollywood stars around his bed. Warhol later said that this period was monumental in the development of his personality, skills, and preferences.

In 1945, the teenage Warhol graduated from Schenley High School and planned to study art at the University of Pittsburgh, hoping to become an art teacher. However, he decided to enroll in the Carnegie Institute of Technology instead, with the intention of pursuing an art career as a commercial illustrator. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design in 1949, moved to New York, and soon adopted the name Andy Warhol. He joined Glamour magazine in September of the same year and was on his way to becoming one of the most accomplished commercial artists of the 1950s.

Andy Warhol photographed by Jack Mitchell in 1973. Photo via Wikipedia

Early in his art career, Warhol adapted and specialized in silk screen printing and used the technique to create his paintings. His first projects involved hand-drawn images, then advanced to silkscreening photographs. His innovative use of printmaking later on enabled him to establish his own signature style, wherein the final products are ridden with blots, smudges, and other unintentional blemishes that add to their character and appeal.

Warhol’s career climaxed in the 1960s, when he began creating paintings of iconic American objects and celebrities. The most prominent of his works from this era, such as those that feature Campbell’s Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles, dollar sign and bills, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor, remain popular and well-received to this day. It was also during this time that he became identified with Pop art, a vibrant and experimental movement that he shared with pioneers, notably Roy Lichtenstein.

The Marilyn Diptych and Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), two of Warhol’s most popular artworks to date. Images via Artsnap.org and ==Words and Pictures=="

As an impressive multi-media artist, Warhol also worked using other mediums such as photography, drawings, sculpture, and even filmmaking and digital art. As there is still much to learn about the fascinating works of the iconic artist, we will delve deeper into these artistic avenues explored by Warhol all week long here in the Magazine. So, stay tuned!

All information for this article were sourced from Andy Warhol on Wikipedia and Andy Warhol on Biography.com.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-02-18 in #lifestyle #american-masters #pop-art #andy-warhol #artist #analogue-lifestyle #lomography

More Interesting Articles

  • Transient Living: Armitage & McMillan in Denver, Colorado

    written by maliha on 2015-01-07 in #world #locations
    Transient Living: Armitage & McMillan in Denver, Colorado

    If you want to know the heart of a person, peek inside his/her wardrobe! And no, nobody famous said that; I only just made it up. But really, don't you think it's true? After all, the way we dress screams our personality; at least for most of us. And that is why, as soon as I land on a new city, one of the things I absolutely must do is find the local boutiques. Sure, I love the fancy chain boutiques as much as the next person, but there's just something else about a local clothing store. It's unique!

  • The Gevabox of Wonders

    written by stratski on 2014-11-18 in #reviews
    The Gevabox of Wonders

    Sometimes you see a camera and you just have to have it. I felt that way about this lovely little box camera. Looks don't mean a thing, I know, but in this case, the looks didn't deceive me.

    1
  • The Bright Side of Detroit

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-05-07 in #world #lifestyle
    The Bright Side of Detroit

    "Here I am looking for desolation and blight and abandonment, and I find life," says National Geographic contributor Wayne Lawrence. For him, photography is more than just looking. It is about people and their stories.

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Fresh from the Lab: 1990

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-08 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: 1990

    A weekend without a lomowalk seems bad, at least for me. One Saturday morning, I decided to join my friends in their lomowalk. It was all cloudy at first but it didn't stop me from going out and walking. I brought my new Nikon FM2 and some expired rolls, just to test my camera. Was it just me being sleepy, or was my Nikon FM2 acting up? My photos turned out grainy, pale, and, in my opinion, looking so 1990s?

    1
  • Analog By Nature

    written by Cameron Jean-laing on 2015-04-17 in #world #lifestyle
    Analog By Nature

    It's late October in Copenhagen and summer was well and truly behind us. With the nights drawing in, the chances of going out with one of my cameras was slim. All was not lost at this time of year, however, as it allowed me time to focus on my own personal music projects—I am a professional composer/musician and audio engineer at my own studio by day.

    1
  • Agfa Precisa CT 35mm: The Blues!

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-12 in #reviews
    Agfa Precisa CT 35mm: The Blues!

    I don't care if this film has been reviewed a zillion times, that it has already been discontinued, or that there might be a Japanese version of it. The Agfa CT Precisa that I know gives me the blues. Oh, yes - not a Chelsea FC fan, but this film is all about the color blue. Say hello to the blues!

    7
  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-02 in #gear #lifestyle
    Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    Some people say instant photos bring about a feeling of nostalgia. Although I often use the Lomo'Instant Camera with different crazy accessories such as the Splitzer and color gels, I have to agree there is something about it — dreamy vignettes maybe? — that always makes me want to go back in time and experience it all over again. In the name of analogue photography and good old memories, we passed by some classic spots in Vienna and took one shot after the other. Take a closer look at our gallery.

  • Fresh from the Lab: Silvia Precisa

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-20 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: Silvia Precisa

    Recently, I used my trusty Fuji Silvi. It may not be my all-time favorite camera, but I just wanted to use it because I kind of missed shooting with it. So I decided to look through my film stash to see what I could use with the Fuji Silvi. After much consideration, I ended up picking the old Agfa CT Precisa ISO 100 to get that classic blue tone. Silvia Precisa!

    2
  • Lomography Day Trips: Ubud, Bali (Part 2)

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-03 in #world #locations
    Lomography Day Trips: Ubud, Bali (Part 2)

    Previously, I suggested that you walk around Ubud. For he second part of my Lomography Day Trip piece on Ubud, allow me to show you places that are worth visiting. Don't worry, you won't get lost! If you do want to get lost, just rent a bicycle and ride around!

  • Shop News

    Feed your LC-A 120 the finest emulsions and save!

    Feed your LC-A 120 the finest emulsions and save!

    Shoot more with LC-A 120 without breaking your budget! The Phoblographer Editor’s Choice Award Winner now comes in a Bundle with 120 format film at 15% off!

  • Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-15 in #reviews
    Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    Exactly seven years ago, I bought this camera from Indonesia's local Lomography community. I remember having some savings in my bank account and just spending it all on this camera. At that time, I browsed the microsite for the Lomography Fisheye No.2 and immediately fell in love with it! Coincidentally, my friend who introduced me to Lomography just bought this same camera for his birthday. My life has changed ever since I had the Fisheye, my first lomographic camera.

    3
  • Lomo'Instant: Walk In the City

    written by ldelaurentiis on 2014-11-04 in #lifestyle
    Lomo'Instant: Walk In the City

    Going away for the weekend is always fun, especially if, like me, you live abroad and go back to visit your home city! For my walk through Milan, I decided to bring with me the Lomo’Instant because well, I just love it! Here are my thoughts after this special weekend!

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 4

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-05 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 4

    Read on dear friend and I will weave a story for you. There may be more questions than answers raised by this peculiar tale. But if it’s clarity you seek, have no fear, things will become clear in time (they always do, don’t they?). So rub the Sandman’s dust from your sleepy eyes and take a journey with me. If you think you have an answer when we reach the end, please do share it in the comments!

    8