It is rare for an artist to become a celebrity, but Andy Warhol experienced much more than his fifteen minutes of fame, and became an icon of his generation.
Andrew Warhola was born August Sixth, 1928, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He was the youngest son of Julie and Andrej Warhola, both immigrants from Czechoslovakia. In Fifth grade Andrew started attending the free Saturday classes that the Carnegie Institute taught. It is noted that even then young Andrew excelled at his art. Due to the bullying by his classmates he stayed inside a great deal, working on his art.
Due to his aptitude in school, Andrew skipped two grades and was admitted into the Carnegie Institute of Technology at the young age of 16. Once in the school Andrew was admitted to the Department of Painting and Design. He studied various aspects of commercial graphic design. Warhol graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949, with a degree in pictorial design. He then went to New York City to work as a commercial illustrator.
Warhol was involved in many artistic fields such as painting, filmmaking and photography. . He got his first break in August 1949, when Glamour Magazine wanted him to illustrate a feature entitled “Success is a Job in New York”. But by accident the credit read “Drawings by Andy Warhol” and that’s how Andy dropped the “a” in his last name.
He continued doing ads and illustrations and by 1955 he was the most successful and imitated commercial artist in New York. In 1960 he produced the first of his paintings depicting enlarged comic strip images such as Popeye and Superman, which were initially for use in a window display. Warhol pioneered the development of the process whereby an enlarged photographic image is transferred to a silk screen that is then placed on a canvas and inked from the back. It was this technique that enabled him to produce the series of mass-media images – repetitive, yet with slight variations – which he began in 1962. Warhol incorporated such items as Campbell Soup cans, dollar bills, Coca-Cola bottles, and the faces of celebrities, which can be taken as comments on the banality, harshness, and ambiguity of American culture. His work and ideas both reflect and helped shape American mass media and popular culture.
Later in the 1960s, Warhol made a series of experimental films dealing with such ideas as time, boredom, and repetition; they include Sleep (1963), Empire (1964), and The Chelsea Girls (1966). In 1965 he started working with a rock band called The Velvet Underground formed by Lou Reed and John Cale. Andy introduced them to the model and movie star Nico, and she sang on their debut album from 1967 “The Velvet Underground and Nico”. Andy would travel around the country, not only with The Velvets, but also with superstar of the year Edie Sedgwick and the lightshow “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable”.
Warhol’s publications include The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (1975) and America (1985), a collection of his scathing photographs of contemporary life in the United States. From 1969 until his death, he published Interview, a monthly magazine with illustrated articles about current celebrities. In 1994 the Andy Warhol Museum, the largest single-artist museum in the United States, opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On June 3rd, 1968, Valerie Solanis, a rejected superstar, came into the factory where Andy worked and shot him three times in the chest. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, but after having his chest cut up and been given heart massage, he survived.
Valerie Solanis turned herself in that night and was put in a mental institution. She was later given a three-year prison sentence. After recovering Andy Warhol continued to work. Andy Warhol died at 6:31 A. M.
on Sunday, February 22nd, 1987, at the New York Hospital after a gallbladder operation. I personally feel that Andy Warhols art will be a permanent part of American art, history, and culture. I think he was one of the most creative artists of our time. It is no wonder that he became famous, and he will not be forgotten.
Bibliography1. “Warhol, Andy,” Microsoft