Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement also known as pop art! His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960’s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.
Warhol started of his carrier as a commercial artist and did illustrations for a NY based magazine. Doing his job as a commercial artist he gained fame for his whimsical ink drawings of shoe advertisement. These were done in a loose, blotted-ink style, and figured in some of his earliest showings at the Bodley Gallery in NY.
With the concurrent rapid expansion of the record industry and the introduction of the vinyl record, Hi-Fi, and stereophonic recordings, RCA Records hired Warhol, along with another freelance artist, Sid Maurer, to design album covers and promotional materials.
And Andy Warhol influenced and created some of the greatest album covers ever. It was Warhol who decided that the Rolling Stones’ 1971 album, Sticky Fingers would feature and actual working zipper that would open up to reveal the vinyl.
Warhol was also part of the production (he gave his name and some financial support) for the Album of the notorious American rock band The Velvet Underground. He created the artwork for the album cover which was a yellow banana. But because it was Warhol he came up with the idea to have the yellow banana as a peel off sticker which will reveal a flesh colour skinless banana.
In his carrier Warhol created 50 Album covers ranging from Jazz bands to very famous pop artists. Album Covers include work for ‘The Rolling Stones’, ‘Madonna’, ‘Underground Velvet’, ‘The Smith’, Michael Jackson’ and ‘John Lennon’!
One of Warhol’s passion was to draw common portraits of celebrities and alter them with colours in his special and unique way. This love to portraits is reflecting in a lot of Album Covers he did over the years.
On a further note it is also important to mention that Warhol’s album covers were not just only part of the rock music world, but also did he design covers for jazz music and opera/classical music.
Warhol’s work both as a commercial artist and later a fine artist displays a casual approach to image making, in which chance plays a role and mistakes and unintentional marks are tolerated. The resulting imagery in both Warhol’s commercial art and later in his fine art endeavours is often replete with imperfection—smudges and smears can often be found.