Artists have long been known to get inspiration from specific people which they call and consider as their muses. If you’ve ever wondered about Andy Warhol’s sources of inspiration, allow us to take you back to the Factory and meet his so-called Superstars.
Recently, we showed you around the Factory, the studio and hip hangout of iconic Pop artist Andy Warhol. Now, it’s time for you to meet some of the most prominent people who surrounded and inspired him in and out of the Factory — his very own Superstars.
The Warhol Superstars was a clique of socialites, artists, free thinkers, and other New York York personalities that appeared in the famed Pop art icon’s artworks and films. He promoted them and served as the living proof of his prophecy that “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.”
Warhol had a long list of superstars, but we can introduce you to five of the best known ones:
Sedgwick was perhaps the most popular of Warhol’s superstars. She started frequenting the Factory (along with her friend, Chuck Wein) in March 1965 when she met the Pop artist through American television, film, and theater producer Lester Persky. She appeared in her first Warhol film when the artist included her along with an all-male cast for Vinyl. Throughout 1965, Sedgwick appeared in several more experimental Warhol films such as Kitchen, Beauty No. 2, Outer and Inner Space, Prison, and Lupe. However, later in the year, the relationship between the two abruptly fell apart and came to an end. Sedgwick’s part in Chelsea Girls would later be edited out, as per her request, and Warhol would replace it with Nico’s footage. However, her omitted footage would later become the film Afternoon.
Nico (whose real name was Christa Paffgen) was a German singer, musican, model, and actress who rose to popularity as a Warhol superstar and also became known for her vocal collaboration with The Velvet Underground for the band’s debut album produced by Warhol, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967). She reportedly found her way to the Factory through Gerard Malanga, who she met in London in 1965. Malanga gave her the phone number of Warhol’s studio and asked her to give them a call whenever she’s in New York. She did so in 1966, and soon started appearing in Warhol and Paul Morrissey’s experimental films such as Chelsea Girls, The Closet, Sunset, and Imitation of Christ. Her Factory days, however, was short-lived, and she also left the Velvet Underground to pursue her own musical career.
French-American Isabelle Collin Dufresne was introduced to Andy Warhol by Salvador Dali in 1963, and since then, she gravitated towards his clique and frequented the Factory. A year later, she took Warhol suggestion to take the stage name “Ultra Violet,” with reference to her hair color at that time, which was often lilac or violet. She starred in many of Warhol’s experimental films between 1965 and 1974, but Viva, Warhol’s new discovery, reportedly upstaged and replaced her as his main muse in 1969. She slowly drifted away from the Factory in the 1980s and started working independently on her own art.
Born James Lawrence Slattery, friends of the transsexual actress believe she adopted the name “Candy Darling” to allude to her love for sweets and also for being called “darling” often by one of her other friends. She met Andy Warhol after seeing him at an after-hours club in 1967. The Pop artist also saw a play written and directed by Jackie Curtis which starred Darling. Later in 1968, Darling appeared in Warhol’s film Flesh, followed by Women in Revolt in 1971. After her Factory days, Darling started appearing in a number of independent films.
Susan Bottomly met the poet Gerard Malanga when she was just 16, around the same time her modelling career landed her the front cover for Mademoiselle magazine. He soon introduced her to Andy Warhol and she became a Factory regular. She moved from Boston to New York and lived at Chelsea Hotel, where Malanga stayed with her for a couple of months. Warhol reportedly found her “very beautiful” and found fascination in the way she did her make up. After taking her screen test, Warhol christened her International Velvet, and starred her in his films such as Superboy, Chelsea Girls , and **** (The 24 Hour Movie).