Andy Warhola was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. He was an American artist and a leader of the pop art movement of the 1960s.
When he was eight years old, Andy was sick in bed for several months, and his artistic mother gave him his first drawing lessons. He also read celebrity magazines and DC comic books. Growing up, he enjoyed movies. His mother bought him a camera, and he took up photography. He developed film in a makeshift darkroom in the basement. He took free art classes at the Carnegie Institute.
In 1949, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Institute for Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). He moved to New York City to work as a commercial artist. This was when he dropped the “a” at the end of his last name. He did work for Columbia Records, Glamour magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, NBC, Tiffany’s, Vogue and others. He was one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s and won many awards.
He began to be interested in painting and the idea of “pop art” – paintings of mass-produced commercial goods. He made paintings of comic book characters, Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, vacuum cleaners and hamburgers. He also used vivid colors to paint portraits of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger and Mao Zedong. His work tried to remove the difference between fine art and the commercial art used for magazine illustrations, comic books, or ad campaigns. He developed a technique for projecting photographic images onto a silk screen to create repetitive designs.
Andy had many interests and tried many things. He had an ambition to become famous and wealthy. A friend described him as a workaholic. He created sculptures of hundreds of large-sized replicas of supermarket products including boxes of Brillo, Heinz Ketchup, Kellogg’s Cornflakes Boxes and Campbell’s Tomato Juice. He created hundreds of films. Some films had scripts and some were improvised. His works include Empire, The Chelsea Girls, and the Screen Tests. In 1968, Valerie Solanas, an actress in one of his films, shot Andy and Mario Amaya. Warhol was seriously wounded and barely survived. He never completely recovered from his injuries.
As he grew older, he seemed to become more and more outlandish in his work and his personal appearance. He is famous for saying, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” He died on February 22, 1987 of complications after gall bladder surgery.
Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy