A Modern Renaissance Man
Andy Warhol was born in
on August 6, 1928. He
helped develop POP
ART, one of the best-
known and most fun
periods of art ever. Andy
Warhol also became one
of the most famous artists
ever. He may have been
the first and only art
Andy’s birth name was Andrew Warhola. His
parents were immigrants from Mikova in
Julia Warhola with John Warhola (left) and Andrew Warhola (right)
Andy Warhol had a natural talent for art. His mother
encouraged him, and even helped him with his drawings when he
was little. She was a pretty good artist, too.
At an early age, Andy started having some strange medical
problems. First, he started feeling nervous and shaky a lot. Then, for
some reason, he started to lose his skin color.
Andy’s mother insisted he
spend a lot of time resting
in bed. Andy enjoyed
taking time out to rest.
He colored, read his
favorite comic books, and
listened to the radio. He
especially liked reading
movie magazines. Andy
always loved movies. He
dreamed about the
exciting and glamorous
lives of his favorite movie
Andy attended Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA. He showed so
much interest in art at school that his teachers suggested he take weekend
art classes at the nearby Carnegie Museum of Art. Andy met other talented
kids there. Some of them were from rich families. For the first time, Andy
saw how wealthy people lived. He imagined how nice it would be to have
lots of money.
Even though Andy’s family never had much money,
Andy’s father managed to save enough to send his son
to art college. After Andy graduated from high school,
he studied design and illustration at the Carnegie
Institute of Technology.
While he was there, he developed an unusual art style. He drew
his subject in pencil, and then went over the pencil lines in ink. Then,
before the ink dried, Andy pressed his picture down onto a clean
sheet of paper. This gave him a really neat blotted-line look.
After Andy graduated
from art college, he went to
New York City to look for a job.
Because he had very little
money, he carried his drawing
and artwork around in a brown-
paper grocery bag.
After showing his work to
a lot of different advertising
agencies and magazine
publishers, Andy finally got
lucky. An art director at
GLAMOUR magazine asked
Andy to do some drawings of
shoes to illustrate a story.
Andy was thrilled! Not only
was he going to make some
money, but shoes were one of
Andy’s favorite things to draw.
Later on, Andy did a
whole series of ads for a
big shoe store in New York,
and even make some fun
shoe drawings for himself.
He kept using his blotted-
line method, and everyone
thought his illustrations
were really original and
great fun. Andy kept
getting more and more
jobs, and before he knew it,
he was making lots of
Bonwit Teller, NY, 1961
Finally, Andy was able to move into a nice, big
apartment. By this time, Andy’s father died, and
his mother decided to move in with him. He was
getting more work all the time. Not only was he
doing magazine illustrations, but he started
decorating department store windows.
He was also designing greeting cards, record albums, and
book covers. He even drew suns, clouds, and raindrops for
a television weather report.
Andy had so much work now that he
sometimes asked his friends to help him
finish things up. Andy’s mom often did
the hand lettering for his illustrations.
Andy was becoming one o the busiest-
in New York City.
More than anything else
in the world, Andy
wanted to be famous!
Andy went to work right
away. He made
paintings of comic-strip
ads, and supermarket
products. He wanted to
make his art different
form anyone else’s, but
no one seemed
interested in Andy’s
Andy started getting nervous about what to do. Finally, a friend told
him she knew exactly what to do, but it would cost Andy $50 to find out.
Andy paid his friend. She told him that if he loved money so much he
should paint money.
For the same $50 she added
another idea……to paint
something he saw every day,
like a can of Campbell’s soup.
Andy thought his friend’s
ideas were great. Right
away, he started painting
pictures of money and soup
Andy Warhol often asked people for ideas. He thought it was a normal
part of creating things. Andy always made sure, though, that the way
he showed those ideas was original and all his own.
Andy painted his soup cans on blank backgrounds to make
them stand out and seem very important. He tried to make
his paintings of money and canned soup look like they were
printed or made by a machine…..the way they were in real
life. He thought repeated images were an important part of
POP ART, too, because things are repeated in real life all
the time. Like when you see the same TV commercial over
and over again, or ads, or billboards, or newspapers.
A style of art which seeks its inspiration from commercial art
and items of mass culture (such as comic strips, popular foods and
brand name packaging). Pop art was first developed in New York
City in the 1950's and soon became the dominant avant-garde art
form in the United States. (Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein,
Keith Haring) It is the art of the popular or recognizable image.
Andy used the silkscreen
method to create and repeat
his paintings. He would take a
picture (or use an existing
picture) to a printer and they
would make a silkscreen for
him. He would then under-
paint his canvas and then
silkscreen the image over the
pictures show modern silk
The Silk Screen
Method at the
Andy’s paintings finally started catching on. People enjoyed the fun,
bright color and pictures of things that were familiar to them. Andy was
so busy he had to hire assistants. They all worked in a big studio that
Andy called The Factory.
The first ‘Factory’ was established on 231 East 47th Street, New York in
June 1963. Originally a fire station, some walls and ceiling arches of the
premises were covered in silver foil, while other walls and furniture were
spray-painted silver. The Factory became a social and artistic hub in New
York for young misfits, avant-garde writers, artists, musicians, curators,
actors and hangers-to join in on cultural adventures. It was the place famous
for its various artistic projects, and just having fun.
Andy started using a way to print his paintings called photo silk-
screening. Now he and his helpers could make hundreds of copies of
each painting. Sometimes Andy gave unclear directions to his
assistants. He wanted to see if they would come up with
Andy went on to make paintings and prints of all kinds of
Andy even created artwork about things that were not pleasing to the
eye. He thought the more times you saw something the more numb
you became to the image.
For a while, Andy stopped painting, and started making movies of
everyday events, like SLEEP which showed a man sleeping for six
hours. EMPIRE showed the same view of the Empire State Building for
eight hours and EAT showed a man eating for 45 minutes. His movies
got a lot of attention and are considered an important part of art and
Stars of Warhol
• A writer named Valerie Solanas wanted Andy to take a look at a
play she was writing. Andy took a look at it and never gave it back.
She became angry so Andy put her in one of his movies. She was
still angry with Andy.
• On June 3, 1968, she fired 3 shots from a handgun at Warhol after
they entered his studio. One bullet shot through Warhol's left lung,
spleen, stomach, liver, esophagus and right lung, the other two
missed. She then shot art critic Mario Amaya and tried also to
shoot Warhol's manager Fred Huges, but her gun jammed.
(Solanas reportedly considered Warhol a vampire and spray-
painted her bullets silver. She had previously experimented with
wrapping them in aluminum foil, but the foil made her gun jam.)
• Warhol barely survived; he was pronounced dead upon arrival at
the hospital. He never fully recovered and had to wear a corset to
prevent his injuries from worsening for the rest of his life.
The band “The Velvet Underground” often played at “The Factory”
Many of the people in the band were also Andy’s friends. He helped
the band produce their first album and designed the cover.
Andy also had his own magazine called “Interview”
magazine. Since Andy had so many famous friends he
decided he would interview them and create a magazine.
Whenever he went to a party he often was quietly taking
pictures of them.
Warhol died in New York City on
February 22, 1987 from complications
following routine gallbladder surgery at
the age of 58. Warhol was afraid of
hospitals and doctors, so he had delayed
having his recurring gall bladder
problems checked. More than 2000
people attended the memorial mass at
St.Patrick's Cathedral. The pop art icon
Warhol was also a religious man - a little
known fact. He is interred at St. John the
Baptist Catholic Cemetery in Bethel Park,
south of Pittsburgh. Fellow artist
Yoko Ono was among the speakers
at his funeral.
Andy Warhol had so many posessions it
took Sotheby’s nine days to auction his
estate after his death for a total gross
amount of over 20,000,000 (USD).
Warhol Museum is
located in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. It is
the largest American
dedicated to a single
artist, holding more
than 4,000 works by
the artist himself.
Why a Modern Renaissance Man?
Andy Warhol was interested in: