Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The date was August 6th, 1928. He was just 58 years old when he died. Known as the “Pope of Pop,” he was the leading figure in the visual movement referred to as pop art. His works and biography displayed the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisement. Warhol started out as a commercial illustrator but soon became a well-known and controversial artist. He became so famous that his hometown of Pittsburg opened The Andy Warhol Museum, which is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to one artist.
His very successful career as a commercial illustrator began at I. Miller Shoes in New York City. During this time his illustrations consisted mainly of blotted ink drawings. Although he had become a very popular commercial artist, he had a hard time being taken seriously as an artist. He eventually moved away from the commercial art and ventured toward pop art.
Warhol wanted to separate himself from other commercial artists like Jasper Jones and James Rosenquist, who were also moving into the pop art field. He wanted his work to stand out so he narrowed his images down to just the icon itself.
Many of his works centered on popular culture items like a Coca Cola bottle, dollar bills, and famous people such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, and Elizabeth Taylor.
One of his most famous works of art, the Campbell’s Soup Can portrait from 1962, was not made with a style of painting rather was produced in a semi-mechanized silk screen. Originally his works were hand-painted with paint drips, but he eventually moved away from this process and began to use silk screening.
The public began to recognize Warhol’s work by the bright colors that he used when creating images of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.
Andy Warhol was known not only for using bright colors but also for capturing darker, more serious subjects like suicide, car crashes, and disasters. Some of his more well-known solemn works include his ‘Death and Disaster’ series which included works like Red Car Crash, Purple Jumping Man, and Orange Disaster. ‘Silver Car Crash’ from this series became the highest price work of Warhol’s that sold for $105.4 million on November 13, 2013 at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction.
In 1979, Warhol was asked by BMW to paint a Group 4 race version of the BMW M1 for the fourth installment in the BMW Art Car Project. Unlike the three artists before him, Warhol declined the use of a smaller scale model to practice on. Instead he painted directly on the actual car.
Later he pursued a career in film making. His films captured different images just like his paintings. ‘Sleep,’ one of his more famous films is a six hour documentation of a poet sleeping. His most famous movie though was ‘Chelsea Girls’ which told two stories at the same time.
He later wrote a book titled, “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol” where he talked about the differences in his life and his work.