My Research on Andy Warhol

The artist that I decided to write on is Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol, born Andrew Warhola, was born on August 6th, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the Ruthenian Catholic, him and his family’s religion.

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In third grade, Warhol was diagnosed with Sydenham’s chorea (also known as St. Vitus’ Dance), which is nervous system disease that causes involuntary movements. At times he would stay in bed all day and to occupy his time he would draw, listen to the radio and collect pictures of movie stars around his bed. Warhol later exclaimed that this period was a very important one, as it helped with developing his personality, his skill-set and preferences. When Warhol was 13 years old, his father died in an accident which was very tragic for him but did not stop him from his dream (which probably proves he was very supportive of him). As a teenager, Warhol graduated from high school in 1945. After graduating from high school, his plan was to attend and study at the University of Pittsburgh in the hope of becoming an art teacher, but his plans changed, and he ended up enrolling in the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he studied commercial art. He was usually described as quiet, shy, and a meticulous observer. While he was there, he served as art director of the student art magazine, Cano, illustrating a cover in 1948 and an illustration in 1949. These are believed to be his first two published artworks. Warhol then earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in pictorial design in 1949. Later that year, he moved to New York City and began a career in magazine illustration and advertising.

Warhol’s early career was strongly dedicated to commercial and advertising art. He then started his first commission, which was to draw shoes for Glamour magazine, in the late 1940s. In the 1950s, Warhol then worked as a designer for a shoe manufacturer by the name of Israel Miller.While working in the shoe industry, Warhol developed his “blotted line” technique, which is applying ink to paper and then blotting the ink while still wet, which was akin to a printmaking process on the most rudimentary scale. He development a method, where he uses tracing paper and ink to allow himself to repeat the basic image and also create endless variations on the theme prefigures. Warhol also habitually used the expedient of tracing photographs projected with an epidiascope. Often using prints by Edward Wallowitch, in his photographs.

He is most noticed and appraised for his works such as:  “Young Man Smoking a Cigarette”, which he used Wallowitch’s photograph for it and also for a 1958 design for a book cover he submitted to Simon and Schuster for the Walter Ross pulp novel, The Immortal, and later he used others for his “Dollar Bill” series;  “Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener” (Vegetable), of 1962 which initiated Warhol’s most sustained motif, the soup can (also referred to as the “Campbell’s Soup Cans”; “Chelsea Girls” a film in 1966; Exploding Plastic Inevitable an event in 1966; also of 1962, the “Marilyn Diptych”; and a portrait of Chinese Communist leader, Mao Zedong, created in 1973.

He began by exhibiting his work during the 1950s. He held exhibitions at the Hugo Gallery and the Bodley Gallery in New York City. Soon afterwards, in California, he had his first West Coast gallery exhibition on July 9, 1962, in the Ferus Gallery of Los Angeles. The exhibition marked his West Coast debut of Pop Art, this was his style of painting and movement. It originated in England but fully developed in New York City in the 1960’s. It glorified commonplace objects and popular personalities and it also stressed realism.

This was when Warhol began to make paintings of iconic American objects such as dollar bills, mushroom clouds, cans of Campbell’s soup, Coca-Cola bottles, celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Muhammad Ali, and many more as well as newspaper headlines and photographs of police dogs attacking African-American protesters during the Birmingham campaign in the civil rights movement.

During these same years, with his methods and good work in printmaking, painting, cinema, photography, he founded his studio, “The Factory” where he gathered a wide range of artists, writers, musicians, and underground celebrities. His work then became very popular and controversial.

Then Warhol had his first New York solo pop art exhibition which was hosted at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery from November 6th to November 24th, 1962. This exhibit included his works: Marilyn Diptych, 100 Soup Cans, 100 Coke Bottles, and 100 Dollar Bills.

After several years after Warhol’s success rate slowed down, he had a re-emergence of critical and financial success in the 1980s, this was partially due to his affiliations (friendships) with quite a few younger artists, who were dominating the “bull market” of 1980s New York art. Two of his friends were Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel, which are very well-known artists still today.

In 1984, Warhol immortalized the singer Prince by creating one of his final portraits, “Orange Prince”. Several years later, in Manhattan, New York on February 22, 1987, Warhol died at age 58. According to news reports, he had been making a good recovery from gallbladder surgery that he had at New York Hospital before dying in his sleep from a sudden post-operative irregular heartbeat. Every art fan was simply hurt.

I think it would be cool to be Warhol, he is so evidently amazing. From his childhood he was blessed with many talents and he took them and ran with them. I think it’s great how every time he was strongly critiqued, he took it as a sign to try again and he kept doing what he liked. I also am a fan of his work, the uniqueness of each part of his paintings just are tremendous. My first-time seeing art and identifying it as “art” was with one of his paintings.

Today Andy Warhol is widely known for his paintings and inspire many young artists today. There is a museum named after him and is filled with mostly all of his paintings. Andrew Warhol is an artistic legend.

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