Andy Worhal

Andy Worhal

Andy Warhol, the American painter, printmaker,
illustrator, and film maker was born in Pittsburgh on August 6, 1928, shortly
afterwards settling in New York. The only son of immigrant, Czech parents,

Andy finished high school and went on to the Carnegie Institute of Technology
in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1949 with hopes of becoming an art teacher
in the public schools. While in Pittsburgh, he worked for a department
store arranging window displays, and often was asked to simply look for
ideas in fashion magazines . While recognizing the job as a waste of time,
he recalls later that the fashion magazines "gave me a sense of style and
other career opportunities." Upon graduating, Warhol moved to New York
and began his artistic career as a commercial artist and illustrator for
magazines and newspapers. Although extremely shy and clad in old jeans
and sneakers, Warhol attempted to intermingle with anyone at all who might
be able to assist him in the art world. His portfolio secure in a brown
paper bag, Warhol introduced himself and showed his work to anyone that
could help him out. Eventually, he got a job with Glamour magazine, doing
illustrations for an article called "Success is a Job in New York," along
with doing a spread showing women’s shoes. Proving his reliability and
skills, he acquired other such jobs, illustrating adds for Harpers Bazaar,

Millers Shoes, contributing to other large corporate image-building campaigns,
doing designs for the Upjohn Company, the National Broadcasting Company
and others. In these early drawings, Warhol used a device that would prove
beneficial throughout his commercial art period of the 1950’s-a tentative,
blotted ink line produced by a simple monotype process. First he drew in
black ink on glazed, nonabsorbent paper. Then he would press the design
against an absorbent sheet. As droplets of ink spread, gaps in the line
filled in-or didn’t, in which case they created a look of spontaneity.

Warhol mastered thighs method, and art directors of the 1950’s found in
adaptable to nearly any purpose. This method functioned provided him with
a hand-scale equivalent of a printing press, showing his interest in mechanical
reproduction that dominates much of his future work. Such techniques used
for almost all of his works derived from his beginning in the commercial
arts. His pattern of aesthetic and artistic innovation, to "expect the
unexpected," began with his advertising art in the 1950’s. Much of his
future subject matter can be placed in the realm of such common, everyday
objects, that were focused on in these early times. Nearly all of Warhol’s
works relate in one way or another to the commercially mass-produced machine
product. Hence, Warhol’s future artwork and techniques were greatly influenced
by his rather humble beginnings. Although Warhol did receive recognition
for much of his commercial illustrations during those times, he was constantly
pursuing another career as well-that of a serious artist. Unfortunately,

Warhol was not so successful at first in obtain this goal. His delicate
ink drawings of shoes and cupids, among various others, had no place in
a decade dominated by such heroic artists as William de Kooning and Jackson

Pollock.

Warhol And Pop Art

Pop Art emerged in the US in the early

1960’s, at first completely unacknowledged. During it’s beginning, Pop

Art was often seen as an insult to the roles of such artists as Pollock
and de Kooning, who were leading a revival of Abstract Expressionist, "an
abrupt and conspicuous dialectical reaction to a great wave of abstraction,"
at mid-century. Emerging with considerable fanfare, mainly condemnation,
but by 1963-64, it suddenly began being extensively exhibited, published,
and consumed as a cultural phenomenon By the early 60’s, Warhol became
determined to establish himself as a serious painter, as well as to gain
the respect of such famous artists of the time such as Jasper Johns and

Robert Rauschenberg, whose work he had recently come to know and admire.

He began by painting a series of pictures based on crude advertisements
and on images from comic strips. These first such works, such as ‘Saturday’s

Popeye’(1960) and ‘Water Heater"(1960), were loosely painted in a "mock-expressive"
style that mocked the gestural brushwork of Abstract Expressionism, and
are among the first examples of what came to be known as Pop Art. Warhol’s
works during the early 60’s are among those for which he is best known
for. He reproduced advertisements and cartoons, as well as such familiar
household items as telephones and soup cans, often painting one image repeatedly
in a grid design. Many of these works, such as his pictures of dollar bills
and soup cans, as in ‘Cambell’s Soup Cans 200"(1962), show many ideas