(August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987)
Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.
Andy Warhol’s artwork ranged in many forms of media that include hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death in 1987. He founded ‘Interview Magazine’ and was the author of numerous books, including ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties’.
Warhol did a lot of Celebrity Portraits in the 1960’s, they are shown below…
Warhol paints Marilyn Monroe because she is the typical icon of the “glamorous women”. Every female portrait he completed was in the same format which included emphasis on lipstick, eye shadow and frozen camera smile. He wanted to portray Marilyn as the comtemporary sex goddess , packaged for the public as a consumer item. Warhol uses a wide range of colors and off the registar printing to show variations on the image.
Mick Jagger was another example of a sixties icon and a tragic symbol. Jagger encompassed the sex, drugs and rock and roll world that Warhol was fascinated with. Warhol painted this portrait from pictures he had taken of Jagger himself.
This portrait of Liz Taylor was based on a famous mass media photograph. It is an offset lithograph printed on white paper. Liz like Marilyn Monroe represented the “glamorous women” that Warhol became obsessed with.
In the 1960’s wars were being fought and violence was everywhere and Warhol illustrated this with a bold death and tragedy theme. During the 1960’s Warhol was influenced by the Realists, they laid the foundation for a trend of current, socially commited , and visually arresting painting that niether favored nor discriminated against an issue.
Warhol’s paintings depict situations and events that were happening in the world with emphasis on New York City.
Dollar Bill $
The Dollar Sign images are another example of Warhol’s preference for symbols over objects. They are supposed to represent how the art system is linked to the commercial marketplace. This theme of consumerism runs through most of his work. The art work itself is to be seen as a money making opportunity for artists, dealers, and collectors. The image should remind the viewer that art is judged by its dollar value, art represents money on the wall.
The Soupcan is one of Warhol’s most famous and recognized paintings. It was done in 1962 and is an oil on canvas. This painting defines his personal artistic repertoire of low cost consumer items. The soupcan is a mass market article of the American consumer and a recognisable symbol of American way of life.
The Gun is one of Warhol’s most famous still life’s on the subject of death. Death and destruction can be seen as a theme for a series of his paintings. Warhol saw this still life as depicting reality in a time were violence was surronding him politically and socially. This piece is also an example of his use of symbols that make a strong, controversial statement.
Andy Warhol was a legend in his lifetime, and is still a legend today. He set the bar high for all Pop Art and is still an icon that influences many artists and designers around the world today, including myself.