Andy Warhol

By- Brianna Werges

Early life/ family

Andrew Warhola was born in August 6, 1928, in a small, two room apartment in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were both Slovakian immigrants, who worked as a construction worker and an embroider. He was the youngest of his two brothers, John and Paul.


Andrew attended Holmes Elementary School, but was diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease called Chorea at the age of eight. This disease to his nervous system caused him to stay home for many months. While sick, his artistic mother, gave him his first drawing lessons. He also became interested in fashion magazines, comics, movies, and pop stars. After recovering, he went back to school and took free art classes and his mother bought him his first camera for photography.
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“I'd prefer to remain a mystery. I never give my background, and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I'm asked.” —Andy Warhol

Teen years

Andrew also went through another tragedy, his father passed away from a jaundiced liver when he was 14 years old. Andrew was so struck and devastated by his father's passing that he didn't attend the funeral. His father decided to leave all his life savings to Andrew's college education because of his artistic talents. Andrew later on attended Schenley High School and graduated at the age of 16 in 1945.

College and early career

After high school, Andrew attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he would be studying pictorial design. In 1949, Andrew graduated and received his Bachelor in Fine Arts. In college, he experimented with his name and changed it to Andy and dropped the "a" off his last name. Shortly after graduating, Andy moved to New York City to pursue a career as a commercial artist. That same year, he landed a job for Glamour magazine. He became very successful in illustration and started working for many more magazines such as Vogue and the New Yorker. During the 1950's, he became one of the most successful commercial artists and had clients from many well-known companies like Tiffany and Co., NBC, Columbia Records, and many more. Not only was he becoming popular and successive, he won many awards for his special techniques in drawing, pictures, and advertising.

A new focus

In the 1950's, Andy wanted to focus more on his painting and drawing. He expressed his knowledge of commercial and culture in his works of art. His first piece of art was exhibited in the Hugo Gallery in New York, in 1952. He displayed Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote. While exhibiting work in New York City, he was exhibited by MoMa, and participated in his first group show in 1956. Also in 1956, Andy traveled around the world for a few weeks and wanted to devote more energy into his paintings, after being inspired by new emerging artists.

Pop Art

In the early 1960's, Andy stated using his advertisements and comic strips to his artwork. This led to the development of " Pop art" in 1961. He used clear brushstrokes influenced by Abstract Expressionism making his art more expressive. His "Pop art" also focused on commercial goods, which led to his first canvas. In 1962, he exhibited his painting of Campbell's soup cans. This everyday product created and up stir in the art world, and making Andy a celebrity. He also created other legendary consumer paintings like the Coca Cola bottles, hamburgers, and Vacuums. Then, he discovered silkscreening and used that in labels like coffee cans, soap, Matchbook covers, and cars.

Famous Portraits

Andy always loved Hollywood and wanted to paint a series of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, and others. These portraits became very popular and valuable. However, he created a more depressing series called the "death and disaster." This series included car crashes, electric chairs, and suicides.

The Factory

In 1964, Andy opened his own art studio in a warehouse and called it "The Factory." This became the new hotspot, where multiple parties were held for wealthy celebrities and socialists.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” —Andy Warhol


In 1963, Andy started to go into the filming business. He created many classics in just a five year period including, Sleep, Empire, Kiss, and the Chelsea Girls. He made about 600 films from 1963- 1976, with one lasting 25 hours!

Valeria Solanis

Andy's thriving career almost ended when Valeria Solanis, a writer and feminist, shot Andy. He was sent to the hospital due to his serious injures. Valeria shot him because she was mad that she couldn't use her script that she wrote for the film, he was directing. She was later arrested and pleaded guilty. Andy spent weeks in the New York Hospital due to his injuries.
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First Exhibition

Andy had his first exhibition in 1964, where he placed hundreds of replicas of supermarket products in boxes. Some included Brillo,Heinz, Del Monte, Mott's and Kellogg's. At this time as well, his "Factory" was becoming vey popular and even being placed in topics in magazines, like Newsweek and Time.


Andy also took an interest in writing. He wrote his first published book called Andy Warhol's Index in 1967. He also wrote other books like the Diaries of Andy Warhol, Children Book, Exposures, and many more.
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Andy also had his own TV shows called Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes and Andy Warhol's TV, aired nationally on MTV and on Madison Square Garden cable television in New York in the 80's. He created work for Saturday Night Live, appeared on Love Boat, produced music videos for The Cars, modeled for Ford and Zoli, and modeled for fashion shows and TV commercials like Sony and TDK.

The end

Andy Warhol was in Milan, attending the opening exhibit of The Last Supper, when he felt severe pain on his right side. He didn't want to go to the hospital, but he finally gave in after the doctors nagged him on. He went into gallbladder surgery in New York City. On February 22, 1987, Andy died due to complications after surgery. He was buried in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where many came to pay their respects at his memorial. In 1988, an auction of his antiques and paintings were sold and raised over 20 million dollars for his foundation of Visual Arts. People also dedicated a museum to him that opened in 1994, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, that is till there today.
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