Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warhol was not only one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but also a true entrepreneur. Apart from his famous silk screen prints, he also produced a magazine, television shows and underground classic films.
Andy Warhol moved to New York to work as an illustrator for magazines such as The New Yorker and Vogue. During the 1950s, Warhol enjoyed great success as a commercial artist. His first exhibition of his own work was entitled Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote.
Andy Warhol was seen to epitomize everything that was cool about the art scene in New York in the 1960s. He was at the height of his success, and the images he produced in that decade remain icons of pop art to this day. His favorite medium was silk screen, onto which he would print images of Marilyn Monroe or Campbell’s soup tins.
Andy Warhol worked from his own art studio, known as The Factory. Famous and infamous celebrities and characters would drop in and out. His art studio could at best be termed chaotic. Many times, Warhol would give his workers directions and leave the actual work to them. The Factory was also used as a film studio where Warhol made his famous underground films.
Warhol made over 300 films, many of them pornographic. In his films, he used friends and acquaintances, including transvestites such as the legendary Candy Love. Andy Warhol knew everyone that was anyone, including Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and Lou Reid. He also knew Valerie Solanis.
Valerie Solanis was a New York hustler and writer. She met Andy Warhol while trying to hawk her manifesto, entitled The Society for Cutting up Men (SCUM). In 1968, she shot Warhol three times in the chest before being committed to a mental asylum. Warhol lived, but was said never to have fully recovered from the shooting. Solanis’ life was made into a film entitled I Shot Andy Warhol.
Like many original artists, Warhol’s personality was unique. A soft-spoken homosexual who in later life took to wearing a silver-grey wig, he was said to be obsessed with fame and wealth and was surrounded by outlandish and flamboyant friends. Andy Warhol was a true one off, the type of character that New York seems to breed once a decade.
Warhol died in 1987, and his funeral was attended by more than 2,000 people. Warhol gave birth to the famous line, Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. His silkscreen prints are still the most famous pop culture icons of all time.