You may have seen some of his work, such as his Campbell’s Soup Cans made in 1962, or his Shot Marilyns, made in 1964. However, you may not know who he is. His name is Andy Warhol. Andy was born on August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, PA. Born Andrew Warhola, Andy was the youngest of 3 brothers, the oldest being Paul and the middle being John. His parents were Andrej and Julia Warhola.
During his early life, Andy suffered from Sydenham chorea, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements. On days when the symptoms became to extreme, he would stay home from school, reading comics and Hollywood magazines and playing with paper cutouts. On days he did go to school, he was bullied because of his discoloration and pigment issues, which eventually lead to him getting the nicknames “Spot” and “Andy the Red-nosed Warhola.” He was growing up in Depression-era Pittsburgh,
which meant his family had small riches. However, at age 8, they bought Andy is first camera. After this, he went to Holmes School Elementary and attended free art classes at Carnegie Institute, where he was taught by Joseph Fitzpatrick. After realizing how much talent Andy withheld, his father started saving money for Andy’s college education. Andy attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1945 to 1949.
When he graduated from art school with a pictorial design degree, Andy moved to New York City, where he would live out his dream as a commercial artist. This is also where he decided to dispose of the last “a” in Warhola, making him Warhol. The first of his work was an illustrated story called “What is Success?” which was found in a 1949 issue of Glamour magazine. Throughout the 1950s, Andy became an award-winning illustrator. He worked with huge clients, such as Tiffany and Co. Now,
his style was blotted-line ink drawings. He created the process in college and revamped it soon after he graduated.
During the 1950s, homosexuality was illegal in America. Andy, being gay, fought this throughout his career. While many of his friends were invited to display their work at the Tanager Gallery in New York City, Andy was not accepted because his submitted work included two men embracing. Later, he would be found to have sketchbooks filled with loving and humorous depictions of males. He called these Boy Portraits. During the 1960s, when Andy started making films, he made a film called Sleep in 1963,
which starred poet John Giorno in a 6-hour sleep naked.
In 1960, Andy joined in on the pop art movement, a movement that started in Britain during the mid 1950s. After studying it, he made his first pop art paintings in 1961. These works were based upon comics and ads. His 1961 Coca-Cola is evidence that the switch from hand-painted works to silkscreens was overtime. His most recognizable style, photographic silkscreen, is seen to have first outburst for him in 1962. Photographic silk screening allowed Andy to easily remake pictures
he found from popular culture.
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