Who Was Andy Warhol?Andy Warhol was one of the most important artists of pop art, which became extremely popular in the second half of the twentieth century. Though he is best remembered for his paintings of Campbell's soup cans, he also created hundreds of other works including commercial advertisements and films.
Dates: August 6, 1928 -- February 22, 1987
Also Known As: Andrew Warhola (born as), Prince of Pop
The Childhood of Andy WarholAndy Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his two older brothers and his parents, both of whom had emigrated from Czechoslovakia. Even as a young boy, Warhol liked to draw, color, and cut and paste pictures. His mother, who was also artistic, would encourage him by giving him a chocolate bar every time he finished a page in his coloring book.
Warhol Discovers Blotted-LineIt was during his college years that Warhol discovered the blotted-line technique. The technique required Warhol to tape two pieces of blank paper together and then draw in ink on one page. Before the ink dried, he would press the two pieces of paper together. The result was a picture with irregular lines that he would color in with watercolor.
Warhol Tries Pop ArtAround 1960, Warhol had decided to make a name for himself in pop art. Pop art was a new style of art that began in England in the mid-1950s and consisted of realistic renditions of popular, everyday items. Warhol turned away from the blotted-line technique and chose to use paint and canvas but at first he had some trouble deciding what to paint.
Warhol's first exhibition in an art gallery came in 1962 at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. He displayed his canvases of Campbell's soup, one canvas for each of the 32 types of Campbell's soup. He sold all the paintings as a set for a $1000.
Warhol Switches to Silk ScreeningUnfortunately, Warhol found that he couldn't make his paintings fast enough on canvas. Luckily in July 1962, he discovered the process of silk screening. This technique uses a specially prepared section of silk as a stencil, allowing one silk-screen to create similar patterns multiple times. He immediately began making paintings of celebrities, most notably a large collection of paintings of Marilyn Monroe. Warhol would use this style for the rest of his life.
Making MoviesIn the 1960s, Warhol continued to paint and he also made films. From 1963 to 1968, he made nearly 60 movies. One of his movies, Sleep, is a five-and-a-half hour film of a man sleeping.
On July 3, 1968, disgruntled actress Valerie Solanas walked into Warhol's studio ("the Factory") and shot Warhol in the chest. Less than thirty minutes later, Warhol was pronounced clinically dead. The doctor then cut Warhol's chest open and massaged his heart for a final effort to get it started again. It worked. Though his life was saved, it took a long time for his health to recover.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Warhol continued to paint. He also began publishing a magazine called Interview and several books about himself and pop art. He even dabbled in television.
On February 21, 1987, Warhol underwent a routine gall bladder surgery. Though the surgery went well, for an unknown reason Warhol unexpectedly passed away the following morning. He was 58 years old.