27 January, 2019

Where does Artifical End and The Real Begin?

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist, author, director and producer who played a leading role in the rise of Pop Art.

After the death of his father, the impact it had on Andy was significant. His father witnessed the emerging talents of Andy left money behind for him to train as a fine artist.

He moved to New York after graduating and became a successful commercial illustrator after scoring jobs at the likes of Glamour and Vogue magazine.

He started to exhibit his own work at galleries during the 50s and started venturing into pop art from the advice of a friend. 

What is Pop Art?

Pop art is a visual art movement led by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and others.

What these artists realised was the fact that everything is connected and they illustrated this in their work.

It's helped to create a new dynamic in our perceptions of everyday objects and even people.

Andy Warhol Art Style

Warhol's early success came from screen printing. This method allowed him to repeat a basic image and then create different variations with it.

This ability to mass produce art became synonymous with the Pop Art movement. 

To take his art to a new level, Andy Warhol opened a studio and called it 'The Factory', in 1962.

The Factory 

Located in Manhattan, it's had three locations over time and it became a hot spot for parties attended by socialites and celebrities.

The inspiration behind it came from this firm belief by Warhol:

"Making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art." - Andy Warhol.

The name itself, The Factory, is a reference to his work which featured mass-produced products and well-known celebrities. However, The Factory was also the scene of an assassination attempt by Valerie Solanas, a radical feminist. 

After the attack, Warhol needed to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life. Valerie turned herself into the police and was later sentenced to three years in prison. 

Famous Works by Andy Warhol

Warhol's art was quite unique and contained messages that referenced culture and society.

For example, obsessions over celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor or mass-produced goods such as supermarket products.

His work divided opinion because his art would criticise our growing obsessions of materialism and celebrities. 

What are your thoughts? Here are some of Andy Warhol's most famous artworks.

Marilyn Diptych - Life and Death

This is a painting a fantastic example of symbolism and is considered a major influence of modern art. The diptych style goes back to the Byzantine times and represents immortality. 

Warhol worked on two themes and used a painting consisting of 50 images (25 are in colour and 25 in black and white).

The themes were celebrities and death. The number of images of Marilyn Monroe represents her continued appearance in the media. 

Campbells Soup Cans

One of Warhol's most known works. This piece is a fantastic reference to mass advertising.

At the time this work was created, Campbells sold 32 varieties of soup. Warhol painted 32 individual cans with a different flavour and displayed them as one portrait.

Brillo Boxes

A controversial piece, 'Brillo Boxes' causes the viewer to evaluate the differences between art, aesthetics and commercialisation. 

How? Ask yourself how commercial packaging can turn something bland into something you cannot live without. 

Attacking our consumer society, Warhol has blurred the lines of art and commodities.

Final Words

The story of Andy Warhol is quite fascinating. 

Growing up, he suffered from Chorea, a disease of the nervous system. Leaving him bedridden for several months, he was given art lessons by his mother. He was also given a camera and it was here where the young Warhol started to forge his path.  

His contribution to the art form was absolute as Pop Art is still vibrant among our society and is used to reference so many aspects of our being.

He died in 1987 from complications following gallbladder surgery.

Today, you'll find his legacy living on in various forms. The Andy Warhol Foundation strive to push the boundaries of visual art and the museum of Andy Warhol houses many of his works and is located in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

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Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon
Andy Warhol - The Eccentric Icon