Monday, March 3, 2014

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?," -Warhol (Shorr 2011) 

Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928. In his earliest years, Andy took free art classes at Carnegie Institute and loved to work with photography. From 1945- 1949 he attended Carnegie Mellon University and soon after, moved to New York to get involved in commercial artistry.  New York is actually where is adopted the last name Warhol when his first work came out in a magazine, Glamour. The magazine misprinted his last name, Warhola, as “Warhol,” but he decided he liked it and would keep the name as, “part of his new persona as a fashionable New York designer.” (Ketner II, 2013) 

In the 1960s, Andy started to do what he is most known for, which is his pop art. His most famous pop art beings with his Campbell’s Soup Can Series, and his pop art portrait series of Marilyn Monroe. He used a method called silk-screening to make these paintings. In this kind of screen-printing, Warhol used stencils that block out certain areas and then run ink over them. I thought this was very interesting because it is related to how we made our negative space drawings in class. To screen print with this technique, you would have to make a stencil of the negative space then paint over it to get the positive space. Because stencils can be used over and over again, Warhol could mass-produce his work in different bright colors with relative speed. These repeated images while very close to exactly the same, would always slightly vary with each reproduction. This explains his quote that I have at the top of this blog, which is his response to the artistic meaning behind the subtle differences in his repeated screen-prints. 

What’s most interesting about Warhol is the vast range of work he did throughout his life, starting with sketches of shoes and advertisements, moving on to portraits of celebrities, stamps, and even touching on the media of film, Warhol really has a diverse collection of work.


Andy Warhol, Superman, March-April 1961, casein and wax crayon on cotton duck, 67x52 inches (Thomas 2002)

Andy Warhol,  Popeye , 1961, casein on cotton, 68 1/4 x 58 5/8 inches (Thomas 2002)
One of the reasons that Warhol caught my eye was not only the colors that he works with, which I love, but also the fact that he did a lot of work with comic-strips. This is one of the main reasons I choose to study his work. These two comics both come out of his work in the 1960s and are made with casein and wax, another demonstration of the different mediums he used. Often the comics that he made were also featured in journals.

Dance Diagrams

Andy Warhol,  The Double Twinkle -Man , 1962, casein and pencil on linen, 72 1/4 x 54 1/4 inches (Thomas 2002)
Warhol in the Studio with the Dance Diagram as if he's about to learn the dance (Thomas 2002)
Warhol also has a collection that I found really interesting of dance diagrams. To create these works he took diagrams from dance books and projected them, traced them with pencil, and then painted them afterwards. This idea of tracing from other art or manipulating other works, such as his screen-print of the Mona Lisa, was something that Warhol was a big fan of in his art. When asked why he replicates items, he simply responded, "Because it's easier to do." (Shorr 2012) 

Coke Bottle Collection 
Andy Warhol, Five Coke Bottles, July 1962, silkscreen ink, acrylic, and pencil on linen, 16x20 in. (Thomas 2002)

These Coke bottles are part of a series of different Coca- Cola bottles that Warhol did, some of which featured various views of the bottle, and this whole series was done using the silkscreen technique to fill in the colors, which vary from this green, to green and brown on some of the other prints. Since the outlines are clearly done in pencil, however, and some of it is hand painted, the combination between using a silkscreen print and hand painting that he used for this series has been recorded by the general term, "silkscreen ink," (Thomas 2002). In this and all of his coke bottle drawings I found that the combination has an interesting effect that gave the bottles more volume than his other silkscreen prints. Also, this is a look into the types of items he was making for advertisements which I think are the most prominent indicator of the time period of his work. 

Warhol's style is very unique. I like how he creates art from replication and how he can show so much transformation a series of one object alone. 

Works Cited: 
Ammann, Thomas. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne: Paintings and Sculpture 1961-1963. Ed. George Frei. 1 Vol. All Saints Street, London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2002. Print.
Ketner II, Joseph D. Andy Warhol. Ed. David Anfam. New York, NY: Phaidon Press Inc., 2013. Print.
Shorr, Catherine O'Sullivan. Andy Warhol's Factory People. 1 Vol. Paris, France: Planet Group Entertainment Ltd., 2011. Print.

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