The Founder of Pop Art: Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol is the god father of Pop Art. His window advertisements were the beginning of an era where art would be seen in an array of forms away from the traditional paintings and sculptures of the old world. His love of bright colors and bold patters along with his quirky personality paved the way for his successful career as a major figure in the pop art movement.
Warhol was born in 1930, in the town of McKeesport, Pennsylvania. His parents were Czech immigrants. After his father died, Andy was forced to support his family through odd jobs. He worked his way through Carnegie Tech., Pittsburgh where he studied commercial art. After graduation, Warhol moved to New York where he launched a successful career as an illustrator.
He began producing “Pop” pictures in 1960 with works based on Popeye, Nancy and Dick Tracy comics. These early works were first shown as back drops for department store windows and were painted in loosely brushed style based on Abstract Expressionism. Warhol’s first works using comic material tended to soften hard professional gestures and aggressive vocabulary of the texts and images. Warhol countered the scrupulous accuracy of the original genre with imprecision and deliberate error. In doing so, he soiled the comic strips narrow-minded ideological and decorative purity.
Andy Warhol’s next series, depicting the mass-produced goods of Compels Soup cans and Coke bottles, captured the clean-edged look of commercially manufactured objects and made him famous. He also turned his art into mass produced objects. At the time many critics were up in arms over the banal subject matter. Abstract Expressionists were also angry at losing their place in the art market to a young upstart commercial artist. Campbell’s soup had a special significance to Warhol because it was his favorite meal as a child; his mother fed it to him at every lunchtime. Suddenly a bland object became art. Warhol’s images summed up the spirit of his society and times- from Marilyn Monroe to Chairman Zedong. The silk- screened image became a format Warhol used for many years. He became well known in the early sixties for his many Marilyn’ silk-screens, of Marilyn Monroe, and for is used of the Campbell’s soup cans. His silk screened works would often use repeated imagery to render the subjects simply another artistic element. This celebrity silk screens and soup cans, simple as they may seem became the back bone of the pop art world, and are recognized more than any others as a Warhol work.
Warhol was the quintessential Pop artist, he not only wanted to “turn the trivial and commonplace into art, but also make art itself trivial and commonplace.” Warhol was a personality and established and enhanced the status of Pop Art. He died in 1987 and in May of 1994, the Andy Warhol Museum opened in Pittsburgh.
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