Andy Warhol Essay

Andy Warhol is one of the significant famous personalities of the twentieth century. He is an artist, a film maker, a celebrity and even a businessman. Warhol advanced the Popular art movement in America. He made compelling and controversial art works that yielded praises and even criticisms. Warhol had once said, “I’d prefer to remain a mystery. I never like to give my background and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I’m asked. It’s not just that it’s part of my image not to tell everything, it’s just that I forget what I said the day before, and I have to make it all up over again” (Wrenn Andy Warhol: in his own words).

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            Andy Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the son of Slovakian immigrants. His father was Andrej who was a construction worker who died when he was 13 and his mother was Julia. According to his mother, Warhol suffered three nervous breakdowns in his childhood (Andy Warhol).

By 1945, he entered the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) where he majored in pictorial design .

After college, Warhol went to New York and started his career in illustration and advertising for several magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker (Cribbs Andy Warhol: Biography). It was film director Emile de Antonio who encouraged Warhol to start as an independent  artist because he considered commercial art as a real form of  real art. His fondness for art and commerce gained him several recognitions from established organizations (Andy Warhol).

            During the 1960’s, many of Andy Warhol’s most famous and iconic images were generated. By adapting various images from popular culture, Warhol created many paintings that remained icons of 20th-century art, such as the Campbell’s Soup Cans, Disasters and Marilyns. In addition to painting, Warhol made several 16mm films which have become underground classics such as Chelsea Girls, Empire and Blow Job (Cribbs Andy Warhol: Biography). Most of Warhol’s films were deemed plotless,  complex and somewhat pornographic. Though there were scripts, most of the dialogues in his films were improvised by the actors who were usually transvestites, homosexuals and his acquaintances.

According to Warhol, he never particularly wanted to make simply sex movies, but attempted to show how people can meet other people and what they can do and what they can say each other. Warhol’s gradual withdrawal from films production coincided with his near fatal shooting in 1968 by a female ‘factory’ reject connected with an anti-male hate group (Andy Warhol).

More so, in this period, Warhol moved to the “Factory.” It was his place at Union Square in New York City where he and his team of hired workers massly produced screen prints of popular culture. This immediately became the hangout venue for  artist, musicians, and actors where they expressed their individuality. The Factory also served as a working place where he produced most his masterpieces in art and film (Andy Warhol Biography).

            In the 70’s amd 80’s, Warhol had expanded his empire beyond mere art making. He was in the center of a corporation that produced films, books, plays, and was involved with television (Andy Warhol). He founded inter/VIEW magazine. He also created two cable television shows, “Andy Warhol’s TV” and “Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes” for MTV .

More so, Warhol had several collaborations with younger artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Keith Haring (Cribbs Andy Warhol: Biography). In his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol he wrote: “Business art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist. After I did the thing called ‘art’ or whatever it’s called, I went into business art. I wanted to be an Art Businessman or a Business Artist. Being good in business in the most fascinating kind of art” (Andy Warhol).

            Andy Warhol died after a gall bladder surgery on February 22, 1987. His funeral was attended by his friends, colleagues and more than  2, 000 fans at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (Cribbs Andy Warhol: Biography) .

            Warhol made a huge contribution in art history. His eccentric personality brought him to beyond levels of stardom. He constantly shook the art industry with his controversial art works that were considered avant-garde during that era. Warhol’s personality have been subjected to several suspicions. His concepts and interpretations gave an impression that he was a homosexual. According to Wayne Koestenbaum’s psychoanalytical interpretation, everything was sexual for Warhol, who was ”as gay as you can get” and he also said that “Warhol’s major artistic contribution was reinterpreting the worth of cultural waste products” (Andy Warhol).

Many would think that Warhol is not a true blooded artist because mainly for the fact that he was driven by monetary ambition and even came to the point where he became obsessed in being rich and famous. But he proved that business can be mixed with art making. He utilized the best of both worlds, which are the corporate world and the art world. In a but shell, he merged art, wealth and fame producing the Pop Artist Andy Warhol (Andy Warhol Biography).

Works Cited

“ Andy Warhol Biography.” 28 February 2008        <>.

“Andy Warhol.” 2000. Books and Writers. 28 February 2008         <>.

Cribss, Martin. “ Andy Warhol: Biography.” 2002. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the             Visual Arts.  28 February 2008 <>.

Wrenn, Mike. Andy Warhol: In His Own Words. Omnibus Press, 1992.

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