In the early 1950s, while Britain was still recovering from the war years. Citizens of Britain had conflicting thoughts about American popular culture. Although conflicted at the time, they were enthusiastic about the rich world that pop culture promised for the future. Popular culture was presented in western movies, science fiction, comic books, billboards, automobile design, and rock and roll music. These types were very popular of popular culture at the time. A new movement, known as the Pop Arts begin in the late 50’s.
The Pop Arts touched on world problems like politics, economics, materialisms, and the media. At the center of this movement was a man named Andy Warhol. He was dubbed the founding father of this movement. Andy Warhol was born Andy Warhola on August 6, 1928 (Life. n.d). He was raised by his mother Julia Warhola, and father Andrej Warhola. Both of his parents were immigrants from Slovakia. They lived in a two-bedroom apartment located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
Warhol lived her with his two brothers, he was the youngest. Growing up Warhol suffered from Sydenham Chorea. This was a neurological syndrome that causes involuntary movements. Along with this he has discoloration of his skin, leading to the nicknames Spot and Andy the Red-nosed Warhola. (Life, n.d). Warhol responded to this my cultivating different looks through wigs, clothing, cosmetics, and plastic surgery. Andy Warhol’s beauty regimes made way into his work, with his early works depicting plastic surgery, colorful wigs, and pain relief for calluses. Due to Warhoal’s Sydenham Chorea syndrome he was bedridden most of the time, causing him to miss school. He made up for this by reading comics, Hollywood magazines, and play with paper cut outs. When he was able to attend school he attended Holmes School. Before attending high school at Schenley High School in 1942, Andy Warhol took free art classes at Carnegie Institute taught by Joseph Fitzpatrick. After Warhol graduated from high school he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1945 to 1949. After art school, he moved to New York. It was here he pursued his career as a commercial artist. Warhol became known in the industry for his blotted-line ink drawings. These drawing used a technique that combined drawing with basic printmaking. This allowed him to duplicate drawing along a similar theme. He was also able to tweek the composition (color, size) much quicker to keep up with the demand. In the 50’s when homosexuality was criminalized, Warhol had no other way but to express himself through his art. Andy Warhol was gay, he was not shy from his sexuality this could be seen in his work. Sketchbooks of his were filled with drawing one title titled Boy Portraits. These portraits depicted males and the studies of their torsos, feet and genitalia. During a brief period in the 1960’s, Warhol touched upon film. One of Warhol’s earliest films featured his then-boyfriend, poet John Giorno, sleeping nude in the nearly six-hour-long Sleep (1963)(Life, n.d). Warhol was known to mix business with pleasure. He had intimate relations with several of his business associates. In the 1970’s he returned to painting the male and female nude. This was a new painting series of his called Sex Parts and Torso. In the 1980s, when the HIV/AIDS public heath crisis broke out, it left the art scnene and gay community devistated. This deviation led Warhol to focus on the body and to return to hand painting. In the 1960’s the pop art movement took way to Warhol. By 1961, he created his first piece using comics and ads he had seen. This work was known as Coca-Cola. This was his first piece that showed his transition from hand painting to his work with silkscreen printing. His work with silkscreen printing became the most dominant come 1962. The silkscreening was a commercial process that allowed reproduction of images. These images were usually images that Warhol himself appropriated from popular culture. One of his first silkscreen works was the one he did of Marilyn Monroe made from a production still from the 1953 film Niagara (Life, n.d) This wasn’t his last portrait he other featured Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor. Another well known piece of Warhol was his series of Campbell’s Soup Cans. This series was on exhibit the same year of his first solo pop art exhibition in Los Angeles. In 1967, Valerie Solonas a writer from came into his studio and shot him. This tragic event left Warhol physically damaged with only eight organs. It also left scars stretching from his stomach all the way to his torso. Emotionally it altered his work and ability to be approachable and open minded. Due to all the physically damaged this event caused Warhol had to wear a corset for the rest of his life.On February 22, 1987, Warhol died at New York Hospital in Manhattan due to complications following a surgery to remove his gallbladder (Life, n.d) Buried in Bethel Park at Warhol is St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery. He is buried with his mother and father. Before his passing he was working on self-portraits featuring his gaunt face, fixed gaze, and a spiky wig, some of the canvases measuring nine feet square (Life, n.d) A piece of his work that will forever live on was his Time Capsules. The piece was filled, sealed, and sent to storage 569 standard-sized cardboard boxes, 20 filing cabinets (two Time Capsules per cabinet), and a large steamer trunk. Each Time Capsule is filled with ephemera”letters, photographs, publications, recordings, clothing, food, medicine, toys, antiques, ticket stubs, artworks, and more”dating from the 1950s to his death in 1987 (Life, n.d). The legacy of Andy Warhol will forever live on and he will always be remembered as the founding father of the pop arts movement.