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Andy Warhol was a painter, film director, music producer, novelist, cookbook writer, fame monster, and more.

But he wasn’t always glamorous. Warhol started out as a pretty normal kid. Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1928, he was the son of Czech immigrants. After attending college at what is now Carnegie Mellon, he moved to New York in 1949 where he became a commercial artist working in advertising. Despite this unglamorous job, it was a start. After all, Magritte also started out in advertising.

The difference between Warhol and Magritte was that Warhol became wildly successful, becoming one of New York’s highest paid commercial artists. By 1959, he was making an average annual salary of $65,000. In today’s money, he was making a little over a half a million. Although he was still creating illustrations for children’s stories like “Card Games are Fun” in the late 1950s, he had aspirations to become a fine artist and lusted after the ultra-famous status that he would soon achieve.

Warhol began to edge himself into the New York art scene of the early 1960s. After Truman Capote called him a loser and Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns all but jilted him, he finally gained some footing. After some deep thinking and taking tips from other people on some of his most famous works (looking at you, Campbell’s Soup Cans), Warhol was finally famous.

Despite his newfound celebrity status and the booming business within his studio, aptly nicknamed The Factory, Warhol announced his retirement from painting in 1965 to focus his attention on a new medium – film. But, we’ve learned to not take anything Warhol said too seriously. He continued to paint until his death in 1987. Andy’s fickle attitude earned him the nickname Drella, a combination of Dracula and Cinderella. Lou Reed, who frequented The Factory, wrote and recorded an album called Songs for Drella as an ode to the artist.

The carefree era of the ‘60s haltingly ended in 1968 when Valerie Solanas, an ultra-feminist Factory worker who founded S.C.U.M. (the Society for Cutting Up Men), shot Warhol in the chest in 1968. Although he survived the shooting, Warhol was never the same. He had to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life, which has been delicately captured by Alice Neel. He also became obsessed with guns; after the shooting, he produced 232 works that featured firearms.

Warhol’s unparalleled understanding of popular culture catapulted him to fame, and he sometimes used that power for the greater good. Although he was never a very political artist, Warhol was pretty liberal when it came down to it. He made a clever print to help swing votes away from Richard Nixon in 1972 and ultimately raised over $40,000 for Democrat George McGovern’s campaign.

Warhol’s instantly-recognizable art has become part of mainstream culture, and this is perhaps exactly what he wanted his lasting legacy to be. You can buy his images on tote bags, socks, mugs, and anything else you can imagine. When Phish performed in Pittsburgh in 2017, they released a print that riffed on Warhol’s Brillo box that could actually be folded into a box. His unique approach to artmaking has lasted long since his death. Warhol began the business art legacy that contemporary artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst have continued to profit from.



Andy Warhol is best known for his work in the 1960's known as 'Pop Art'

Andy Andy Warhol, or Andrew Warhola, was a native of Pittsburgh, PA. The Warhol Museum in his hometown is currently the largest museum dedicated to any one artist. He ended up drawing a lot of pictures of women's shoes. Not because he had a foot fetish, but because he worked as a commercial illustrator. His success in commercial art influenced his early work and, at times, made it difficult for him to be taken seriously. At the time, Pop artists had their own gimmicks (cartoons, typography, etc.) that they were painting. Warhol wanted to find a niche for himself and a friend of his advised him to paint what he loves. I guess that means Warhol loved soup, electric chairs, and money...but who doesn't love electric chairs.) Some fun facts:

  • Coined the term 'fifteen minutes of fame.
  • Mildly stalked Truman Capote.
  • Someone shot him and then he made a movie about it.
  • Was a hypochondriac, yet terrified of hospitals and doctors.
  • Died after a routine gallbladder surgery in New York City in the late 1980's.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol (/ˈwɔːrhɒl/; born Andrew Warhola Jr.; August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American visual artist, film director and producer. A leading figure in the pop art movement, Warhol is considered one of the most important American artists of the second half of the 20th century. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best-known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell's Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962), the experimental films Empire (1964) and Chelsea Girls (1966), and the multimedia events known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–67).

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the late 1950s, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist. His New York studio, The Factory, became a well-known gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons. He promoted a collection of personalities known as Warhol superstars, and is credited with inspiring the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame".

In the late 1960s, he managed and produced the experimental rock band the Velvet Underground and founded Interview. He authored numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He lived openly as a gay man before the gay liberation movement. In June 1968, he was almost killed by radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who shot him inside his studio. After gallbladder surgery, Warhol died of cardiac arrhythmia in February 1987 at the age of 58 in New York.

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books and feature and documentary films. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city of Pittsburgh, which holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives, is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist. Warhol has been described as the "bellwether of the art market". Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. His works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold. In 2013, a 1963 serigraph titled Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) sold for $105 million. In 2022, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964) sold for $195 million, which is the most expensive work of art sold at auction by an American artist.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Andy Warhol