By: Natalie Pompos
“How can you say one style is better than another? You ought to be able to be an Abstract Expressionist next week, or a Pop artist, or a realist, without feeling you’ve given up something.. I think that would be so great, to be able to change styles. And I think that’s what’s is going to happen, that’s going to be the whole new scene.”
POP ART MOVEMENT
The Pop Art Movement was most prevalent within New York City during the early 1960s. Artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and arguably the most famous Andy Warhol, are noted as leaders of this particular movement. Their works became global sensations.
The Pop Art Movement marked the transition from Abstract Expressionists. Pop Art introduced popular culture and everyday objects in a unique modernistic approach. This movement contrasted sharply with many precursors who valued themes such as historical occurrences, religious symbolism, and mythological ideology. Due to its engaging and familiar appearance, Pop Art became extensively incorporated throughout many means of advertising.
Since the introduction of Pop Art commencing in the 1950s, it has manifested into one of the most distinguishable and emulated artistic styles to date.
ANDY WARHOL KEY FACTS
|Birth name||Andrew Warhola|
|Born||August 6, 1928
|Died||February 22, 1987 (aged 58)
New York City, New York
|Field||Printmaking, Photography, Painting, Film|
|Training||Carnegie Mellon Institute of Technology|
Despite Warhol’s young artistic promise, his assimilation into primary education was turbulent. Unfortunately, Warhol had a difficult time being accepted by his peers. Their lack of embracement was largely attributed to the medical qualms he endured during this stage of his life. At this time, he was diagnosed with St. Vitus’ Dance. The disease led to unbearable bouts of shaking triggered by assaults upon his nervous system. As a result of his condition, Warhol was forced to sacrifice a great deal of his school attendance in exchange for bed-rest. In addition to the continuous shaking, the disease also led him to develop high profile pink skin discolouration.
Throughout his high school years, he was able to capitalize upon his innate artistic abilities. He studied a variety of art practices such as photography, painting, as well as drawing. Following his graduation, Warhol decided to pursue his artistic interests and consequently enrolled in Carnegie Institute of Technology. In 1949, he graduated having majored in pictorial design.
THE BLOTTED LINE TECHNIQUE
While attending Carnegie Mellon, Warhol became familiar with the blotted-line technique. Warhol would use a type of adhesive to attach two pieces of plain paper. He would then draw with ink on one page. Instead of allowing the ink to dry, he would press the other sheet of paper against the wet liquid. The outcome of the technique resulted in rough line detailing and an excellent form to apply watercolours upon.
Warhol relocated to New York immediately after he completed his college degree. There he became highly regarded for his unique blotted line approach. Throughout the 1950s, his artistic style was featured in numerous advertisements. He was featured in a variety of campaigns; such as, illustrating Tiffany & Company holiday cards, constructing shoe ads for I. Miller, and fashioning book and music album covers.
EXPERIMENTATION WITH POP ART
In 1960, Warhol transitioned into the field of Pop Art. He was intrigued by the Movement’s display of genuine common articles in an engaging way. As a result, he abandoned his popular blotted-line technique and instead became familiar with working extensively painting on canvas. Warhol’s greatest struggle in regards to his shifting technique involved discovering what materials to paint.
First he began illustrating comic strips and soft drink containers. However, this early work received meager following. Throughout the first year Warhol became involved in Pop Art, he grappled with what he should paint. Upon confiding in a friend about his conundrum to find inspiration and execute his work to achieve a noteworthy following, she recommended he simply paint his favourite objects. She encouraged him to brainstorm what he appreciated and display those articles in his paintings.
In response to his confidant’s advice, Warhol began painting images symbolic of wealth and soup cans. In 1962, Warhol’s newly inspired pieces were featured at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. This exhibit marked his first ever. There he featured 32 various flavours of Campbell’s Soup cans on individual canvases. The entire collection sold.
With Warhol’s newfound success in the field of Pop Art, he realized painting on canvas was too inefficient. He was unable to finish pieces at a rapid pace. During the summer of 1962, he became acquainted with the method known as silk screening.
Silk screening involves the utilization of a piece of silk applied as a stencil. This allows the artist to apply the silk stencil multiple times with various colors to develop complementary patterns of repetition. Some of Warhol’s first subject matters via the screening approach involved depicting celebrities. One of the most famous Hollywood sensations Warhol featured was Marilyn Monroe.
Today his celebrity inspired works remain some his most valuable and recognizable. Since beginning the silk screening technique in 1962, he applied this method for the remainder of his artistic practices.
INTO THE WORLD OF FILM
Throughout the 1960s, Warhol continued fervently painting. However he decided to also invest his efforts in the film industry. During the years 1963 to 1968, he was responsible for the creation of almost 60 films. Interestingly, one of the films he created during this time featured a man sleeping for nearly six hours; the film is entitled Sleep.
SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD
On July 3, 1968, Warhol was shot in the chest. Actress Valerie Solanas, was responsible for the shot fired. Nearly thirty-minutes following Warhol’s assault, he was officially claimed clinically deceased.
However, not short of a divine intervention, his doctors were able to resuscitate him. Through a series of radical incisions, doctors exposed his internal chest cavity and manually stimulated his heart. Amazingly, this final attempt to preserve Warhol’s life was successful. However, the amount of damage it inflicted upon his health was immense. It took years for Warhol to attain his previous state of good health.
Over the course of the 1970s into the 1980s, Warhol sustained his love for painting. In addition to expanding his artistic interests into film, he also began making great strides in literature. He established the acclaimed magazine Interview.
At 58 years old on February 21, 1987, Warhol unexpectedly perished. Due to unknown complications he died the morning after a low-risk gall bladder operation. His death marked the end of an icon’s lifetime, but led to his work to further increasing in value and an even greater appreciation for the legacy he established.
SAMPLING OF WORK
21st CENTURY COMPARISON
In 2012, Campbell’s Soup made a dramatic effort to commemorate Andy Warhol. Warhol’s depiction of the company’s cans became world famous and representative of modern consumerism. In honor of his artwork characterizing their company,Campbell’s Soup created special edition 50th anniversary Andy Warhol-esc can labels. The company commissioned only 1.2 million cans. Each can was sold for $0.75.
Andy Warhol’s work is incredibly impressive. His originality and use of bright colours make his pieces incredibly engaging. The simplistic nature of Pop Art is highly emphasized in his choice of subject. However, his application of contrasting hues and interesting colour application enhances the subjects to a unique and highly creative level. I love his work. I wish I could hang a piece of his in my room. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn about this amazing artist and how he rose to prominence. It is sad such a talent passed away so early in life.
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