Andy Warhol’s Life, Career, and Works

Andy Warhol, the popular artist was born to Andrej and Julia Warhola in 1928 (6th of August). With high commercial and Avant-garde sensibilities, he was not only an ad illustrator but emerged as the Pop art movements leading artist of the 1960s. Popularly known for top works including the Campbell’s Soup Cans, Eight Elvises, Moonwalk, and Marilyn Monroe portrait, the artist was among the most prolific artists.

Andy’s Early Life

Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola) was born in the Oakland neighborhood, Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) to his Slovakian immigrant parents, Andrej Warhola and Julia Warhola. The father of the famous artist was a construction worker, whereas his mother worked as an embroiderer. The devoted Byzantine Catholic parents of the artist lived in one of the ethnic enclaves of Eastern European Pittsburgh.

Andy’s parents upheld their Slovakian heritage and culture, and they were regularly present in Catholic masses. At the age of eight, Andy Warhol contacted the rare and fatal disease, St. Vitus’s dance commonly known as Cholera. Thus, he was bedridden for some months where he got his first lessons on drawing from his skillful mother.

Soon, drawing became the artist’s favorite childhood activity and he does his drawing during his pastime. Being a fan of movies from a very young age, Andy Warhol started utilizing his makeshift darkroom for developing the film after his mother got him a camera at the age of nine. So, his basement’s makeshift darkroom became his favorite place at home.

Educational Background of the Artist

The artist had his elementary education at Holmes Elementary School in Pittsburgh. Andy further took his free art classes at the Carnegie Institute, now turned the Carnegie Museum of Art, also in Pittsburgh. Then, a tragedy struck the artist in 1942 after turning fourteen when his father died of a jaundiced liver.

The depressing situation seemed quite hard on the artist as he couldn’t attend the funeral and hid beneath his bed all through his father’s wake. However, there was a ray of hope for his education as his father’s will acknowledged the artist’s talents and Andy was sure about fulfilling his dream with all his father’s life savings dedicated to his college education.

Within the same year, Andy Warhol started schooling at Schenley High School and graduated three years after. After finishing High School in 1945, the artist furthered his education, studying pictorial design at the Carnegie Mellon University (formally known as Carnegie Institute for Technology).

Work-Life of Andy Warhol

After finishing college in 1949, the artist left for New York City with his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, in search of greater opportunities as a commercial artist. Are you curious about knowing how his surname changed from “Warhola” to “Warhol”? Well, he dropped the last letter, “A” after leaving for New York. This change resulted from the misspelling of his name when he landed one of his first jobs.

Interestingly, Warhol got a job in September with the popular Glamour Magazine and he turned out to be one of the most popular commercial artists within the 1950s. His unique styles and whimsical drawings with his blotted line and rubber stamps techniques awarded him many awards.

The artist came up with the concept of creating his arts with commercial goods massively produced, which he termed “Pop Art” in 1961. This concept sprung up after he started devoting much of his time to painting during the late 1950s. Then, came his iconic paintings, the Campbell soup cans – in 1962.

With these recognized canvas works spanning across the art world, Andy Warhol for the first time came into the national spotlight. Other notable pop paintings of the artist include the depicted hamburgers, Coca-cola bottles, and vacuum cleaners. The artist also had some awesome portraits of celebrities that he painted.

Some famous persons that appeared in Andy Warhol’s paintings include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mao Zedong, Mick Jagger, and Che Guevara. These portraits appeared repeatedly, with the artist alternating the color appearances and the painting effects.

No sooner than later, the artist started receiving many commissions as these portraits became famous amongst celebrities and socialites. One notable painting of the artist is the “Eight Elvises,” which happens to be among the world’s most valuable paintings in the history of arts. In 2008, the resale of the “Eight Elvises” made up to $100 million.

Andy’s Art Studio

The artist opened his studio, commonly referred to as “The Factory” in 1964. This art studio graduated from being a mere silver-painted large warehouse to one of the premier cultural hot scenes of New York City. This studio became a location for lavish parties within the city and these parties were attended by celebrities and wealthy folks.

One amazing fact is that Andy’s art studio was featured in the verses of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” as this hit song paid tribute to The Factory’s transvestites and hustlers. There were mentions about the ‘60s fixtures in the legendary art studio, including Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Jacki Curtis, and Joe Campbell (Sugar Plum Fairy). Kindly note that Andy Warhol was also Lou Reed’s friend and managed Reed’s Velvet Underground, his music band.

Books, Films, and Legacy

Exploring other media forms in the 1970s, Andy published some interesting books and also worked on over 60 films. Working on photography and sculpture, the artist further hosted some television shows including Andy Warhol’s TV.

Although the artist’s personal life has always been a subject of debate the artist claimed to be a virgin throughout his life. This claim is amidst believes that he was gay with his arts infusing motifs and homoerotic imagery. Most of his arts suggested a culture of taking arts to the masses despite how wealthy he was, as he made arts very affordable.

Sad Events

The artist got shot on June 3rd, 1968 by the radical feminist and aspiring writer, Valerie Solanas. This serious attack was nearly the end of Andy’s career, making the artist wear a surgical corset for the remaining days he lived. However, he got discharged after undergoing various surgeries and spending many weeks at a hospital in New York.

Andy Warhol lived for many years after that incident but later suffered from chronic gallbladder issues. After his gallbladder got removed in New York Hospital on the 20th of February 1987, the artist seemed fine and recuperating. However, he died two days later at the age of 58 after suffering from some complications leading to a cardiac arrest. St. Patrick Cathedral held a memorial attended by several persons in New York City.

Final Thoughts

Andy Warhol lived a well-fulfilled life as a sculptor, painter, and artist, and his works are still held dearly to date. The artist pop art had been among the famous in the world of arts, and we can still find his “Eight Elvises” amongst the most valuable arts the world knows.

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