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Andy Warhol

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Andy Warhol

Never before have I encountered more intriguing works of art than those done by Andy Warhol. I have been curious about his life ever since I saw his work in Milwaukee. I saw his famous work of the Campbell's Soup Can. By viewing this, one can tell he is not your average artist. I'm sure his life is full of interesting events that shaped him into who he was. As an artist myself, I would like to get to know the background of his life. I may then be able to appreciate his styles and understand why and how his works were created. His life is as interesting as his artistic masterpieces.

Andrew Warhola (his original name) was born one of three sons of Czech immigrants, somewhere in Pennsylvania on either August 6, 1928 or on September 28, 1930 (the date on his birth certificate). His father died when Andy was at a very young age. Thus, it forced Andy into a deep depression containing lack of self confidence. Much of his young life has been kept secret. However, he did report being very shy and depressed because he never felt comfortable with his homosexuality. His childhood life may have been full of the torture that children threw at him for being the different person he was. He was able to attend college. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in pictorial design from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949, he went to New York City with Philip Pearlstein, who was a fellow student that later became a well-known realist painter. In 1960, Warhol finally began to paint in earnest and to view art seriously as a career. He began his career with commercial drawings of women's shoes. In 1961, an early manifestation was his Dick Tracy, an enlarged version of the comic strip that was placed in the window of Lord & Taylor's department store. He followed in his own footsteps to keep going in the ever-so-famous "pop art" track. Warhol's use of images are so close to the images themselves, thanks to the photographic silkscreen technique, which is a process of applying the same image over and over again without changing the original. In 1963, he began turning film into his next aesthetic. He was the recorder of the world around him. Warhol saw this world as populated by hustlers of various sorts, motivated largely by money and the goods it would buy. Later that next year, he started to experiment in underground film. In the late 70's he began to use sex and nudity to gain attention in his films. Whether this was moral or not; it did, however, work. The rest of his short life was spent visiting with celebrities and keeping up with the world's times. He tried to understand how the rest of the world saw things, but just never got there. Sadly, Warhol died of a heart failure on March 9, 1987, still wearing his famous blond hair wig.

Andy's diaries are not actual written records of his day to day accounts, but they are audio recordings of his phone conversations to Pat Hackett every Monday through Friday (from Wednesday, November 24, 1976 to Tuesday, February 17, 1987, just weeks before his death). Warhol originally intended these daily records to be documentation of his minor "business" expenses. He was just audited and felt the need to be extra careful. "In a word it was a diary. But whatever its broader objective, its narrow one, to satisfy tax auditors, was always on my mind" (Warhol xvi). Later on, he felt the diaries were a great way to explain his everyday occurrences for more than a decade of his life. This view of his life from his eyes is probably the most balanced view ever given. He may have changed since the 60's, but it is still the truest representation of Andy, himself. He never expressed the key happenings of his life; it's as if we, the readers, already knew them. He just usually mentions the quick everyday type things such as a cab ride to uptown New York.

The first major influence on Andy Warhol's life was the stepping stone of his artistic career, his enrollment in and completion of Carnegie Institute of Technology with a bachelor degree in pictorial design. After graduating he moved out to New York City, where his life blossomed. He lived for a couple of years with Philip Pearlstein, who he had met at school. Warhol, with his education centered around design, set out to begin his career on the right foot. He started doing drawings for advertisements in a women's shoe catalog. It may not have been much to brag about, but it was at least something he could learn and gain from the experience given to him. Andy may have acquired his use of media exploited images through his beginning attempts at commercialism. He knew what sold to society, whether he agreed with it or not. He continued on with simplified pop art and he made it famous. He is the person most people think about when pop art is mentioned. Through his advertising projects, he was conditioned to think only in glorification

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