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Andy Warhol

Photo: Greg Gorman

Andy Warhol (Andrew Warhola) was born on 6 August, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; his parents were Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants. Warhol entered Schenley High School in 1942, the year his father, Andrej died. Andrej had recognized his son’s great artistic talent early on, and he saved money to fund Warhol’s college education. From 1945 to 1949, Warhol attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, which is now called Carnegie Mellon University. His goal was to become a commercial illustrator, and he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Pictorial Design.

After his graduation, he moved to New York City in an effort to pursue a career in commercial art. In September of 1949, Warhol’s work debuted in Glamour magazine. He won many awards for his unique style of drawing, making him one of the most successful illustrators of the 1950’s.

1962 marked the rise of his celebrity; the debut of his Campbell’s Soup Can series rocked the art world. He soon began a sizable sequence of movie star portraits, famously including Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley. Also in that year, Warhol began his series of paintings known as “death and disaster.”

As Warhol continued to extend his talents and passions beyond the commercial art scene, he created hundreds of films between 1963 and 1968, ranging from conceptual experimentation and narratives to portraits and sexploitation features. His filmography includes Empire (1964) and The Chelsea Girls (1966). Warhol’s films were both scripted and improvised, and he worked with all sorts of people, even the superstars of the time.

The first exhibition of Warhol’s sculptures debuted in 1964; hundreds of replicas of large supermarket product boxes, such as Heinz and Brillo, were featured. He used this occasion as the premier of his new silver painted studio, “The Factory,” which became “the happening” place of New York City. By the mid-1960’s Warhol’s presence in magazines and media was nearly regular.

Throughout the 1970’s Warhol frequented Studio 54, the most famous New York disco. He was popular with celebrities like Mick Jagger, fashion designer Halston, Liza Minnelli, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. He received hundreds of commissions of painted portraits socialites, film stars, and musicians.

In the mid-1980’s, Warhol, a most prolific artist began producing music videos for rock bands, such as the cars. His television shows, Andy Warhol’s T.V. and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes were aired on New York cable television, and nationally on MTV. He created work for Saturday Night Live, and even signed a modeling contract, appearing in fashion shows, print and television ads.

Warhol died in Manhattan on 22 February, 1987 from cardiac arrhythmia, post gallbladder surgery. He is buried at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Bethel Park, Pittsburgh.

You can find more interesting information about Andy Warhol and his work here.