Andy Warhol Essay Research Paper ever before

Andy Warhol Essay, Research Paper ever before have I encountered more intriguing works of art than those done by Andy Warhol. I have been curious about his life ever since I saw

Andy Warhol Essay, Research Paper

ever before have I encountered more intriguing works of art than those

done by Andy Warhol. I have been curious about his life ever since I saw

his work in Milwaukee. I saw his famous work of the Campbell’s Soup Can.

By viewing this, one can tell he is not your average artist. I’m sure his

life is full of interesting events that shaped him into who he was. As an

artist myself, I would like to get to know the background of his life. I

may then be able to appreciate his styles and understand why and how his

works were created. His life is as interesting as his artistic


Andrew Warhola (his original name) was born one of three sons of Czech

immigrants, somewhere in Pennsylvania on either August 6, 1928 or on

September 28, 1930 (the date on his birth certificate). His father died

when Andy was at a very young age. Thus, it forced Andy into a deep

depression containing lack of self confidence. Much of his young life has

been kept secret. However, he did report being very shy and depressed

because he never felt comfortable with his homosexuality. His childhood

life may have been full of the torture that children threw at him for

being the different person he was. He was able to attend college. After

graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in pictorial design from

Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949, he went to New York City with

Philip Pearlstein, who was a fellow student that later became a well-known

realist painter. In 1960, Warhol finally began to paint in earnest and to

view art seriously as a career. He began his career with commercial

drawings of women’s shoes. In 1961, an early manifestation was his Dick

Tracy, an enlarged version of the comic strip that was placed in the

window of Lord & Taylor’s department store. He followed in his own

footsteps to keep going in the ever-so-famous “pop art” track. Warhol’s

use of images are so close to the images themselves, thanks to the

photographic silkscreen technique, which is a process of applying the same

image over and over again without changing the original. In 1963, he began

turning film into his next aesthetic. He was the recorder of the world

around him. Warhol saw this world as populated by hustlers of various

sorts, motivated largely by money and the goods it would buy. Later that

next year, he started to experiment in underground film. In the late 70’s

he began to use sex and nudity to gain attention in his films. Whether

this was moral or not; it did, however, work. The rest of his short life

was spent visiting with celebrities and keeping up with the world’s times.

He tried to understand how the rest of the world saw things, but just

never got there. Sadly, Warhol died of a heart failure on March 9, 1987,

still wearing his famous blond hair wig.

Andy’s diaries are not actual written records of his day to day accounts,

but they are audio recordings of his phone conversations to Pat Hackett

every Monday through Friday (from Wednesday, November 24, 1976 to Tuesday,

February 17, 1987, just weeks before his death). Warhol originally

intended these daily records to be documentation of his minor “business”

expenses. He was just audited and felt the need to be extra careful. “In a

word it was a diary. But whatever its broader objective, its narrow one,

to satisfy tax auditors, was always on my mind” (Warhol xvi). Later on, he

felt the diaries were a great way to explain his everyday occurrences for

more than a decade of his life. This view of his life from his eyes is

probably the most balanced view ever given. He may have changed since the

60’s, but it is still the truest representation of Andy, himself. He never

expressed the key happenings of his life; it’s as if we, the readers,

already knew them. He just usually mentions the quick everyday type things

such as a cab ride to uptown New York.

The first major influence on Andy Warhol’s life was the stepping stone of

his artistic career, his enrollment in and completion of Carnegie

Institute of Technology with a bachelor degree in pictorial design. After

graduating he moved out to New York City, where his life blossomed. He

lived for a couple of years with Philip Pearlstein, who he had met at

school. Warhol, with his education centered around design, set out to

begin his career on the right foot. He started doing drawings for

advertisements in a women’s shoe catalog. It may not have been much to

brag about, but it was at least something he could learn and gain from the

experience given to him. Andy may have acquired his use of media exploited

images through his beginning attempts at commercialism. He knew what sold

to society, whether he agreed with it or not. He continued on with

simplified pop art and he made it famous. He is the person most people

think about when pop art is mentioned. Through his advertising projects,

he was conditioned to think only in glorification of people, products, and

style. One of his popular works, the silkscreen of the Campbell’s Soup

Can, is an example of this. It is an image that everyone is familiar with,

and it is so common that sometimes it is overlooked. Many times, Andy took

something simple and glorified it. This is how he made his designing

skills useful in promotion. “One would compare Warhol to the pictorial

hyper-realism of Norman Rockwell, and to the surrealism of Marcel Duchamp,

and the radicalism of Jasper Johns” (Sagan 1).

A second major influence in Andy Warhol’s life is his participation in the

underground film scene. It started in 1963, when he called himself “the

recorder of society around him” (Moritz 590). He would find people for his

movies in a club-type warehouse called Max’s Kansas City. Every night,

celebrities of art, fashion, music, and underground film-making crowds

gathered in the back corners of Max’s to try their chance at working with

Warhol. In 1968, he was nearly killed by a woman who was in one of his

short films. She shot him on the side of his chest, but fortunately he was

not killed. He still continued to make films; such famous ones are “Eat,”

“Haircut,” “Sleep,” “Kiss,” and “Empire.” He would make them boring on

purpose to possibly prove a point. Again it was glorifying something

thought of as being extremely pointless. In the late 70’s he began to use

sex and nudity, featuring films concerning sexual bondage. He may have

been simply looking for a shock value content. Many artists work off shock

value, it takes only the true to admit it and still continue with it.

The last and most important influence on Warhol was his mother, Julia

Warhola. When Andy first arrived in New York, he would share apartments

with friends and acquaintances. Eventually he could afford a place of his

own. Then his mother suddenly arrived in town and moved in with him. Her

reason was to look after him. She would constantly keep an eye out for a

wife for Andy. Little did she know he was interested in the opposite sex

for marriage. Andy appreciated his mother, and never wanted to explain how

she had an impact on him. Maybe it was the fact that she meant well, and

tried her hardest to take care of him. She lived with him on 89th Street

and Lexington Avenue until 1971. By then, suffering from senility, she

required constant care and Andy sent her back to Pittsburgh to be cared

for by his two brothers, John and Paul. After suffering a stroke, she died

in her nursing home in 1972. Andy did not except the fact too kindly. He

would even go as far to say his mother was doing fine, when people would

ask about her, even though she had already passed away. Andy stayed quiet

and tried to hide himself from the rest of society. He would avoid

emotional interaction as much as he could. He did this so he could “shrink

away from human touch” (Moritz 591). A man who started his life shy and

uncomfortable, blossomed into an outspoken artist, now finished his life

with feelings even worse than the beginning of his life.

After extensive research I found that Andy had much more to his life than

I had originally expected. He was involved in the classic rock band The

Velvet Underground, with famous singer Lou Reed. He actually even designed

a few of the album covers. Most people remember the self-entitled album

with the picture of a banana on it. Directly to the left of the banana

read the words “peel me.” If one would peel it, it would reveal the pink

insides of a banana. Truly a work of Andy, I must say. Another thing I

found was that Andy was not only homosexual, but he was “omnisexual.” It

was rumored he had no problem with sex with anyone or anything. Men,

women, animals, you name it, it was probably thought of. And last of all I

found he was unusually kind and appreciative to others, especially the

ones who worked for him. Pat Hackett, his editor, once said that she has

never met a person who says “thank you” as much as Andy does.

Not once have I been more informed on a person’s life. In the beginning I

thought I knew a lot about. This research on Andy Warhol definitely

reinforced my positive view of him. It may have possibly enhanced my

appreciation for him as well. I enjoyed the honesty of the entire diary.

Nothing was hidden from the reader and I felt as informed as a good friend

of his would feel. His life is an interesting one and I believe more

people should try to investigate other lives of the unusual. It expands

your own viewpoints to accept those of others.

Many critics have different viewpoints on Warhol’s autobiography. He was

still appreciated by those who understood his ideas. “But he had to have

had some sense of history, or he wouldn’t have left the diaries behind to

try to explain everything to future generations” (Plagens 1732). Some

realize that the diaries are rather boring, but seem to see the true Andy

come through in the entries. “Despite their virtuoso triviality, their

naive snobbery and their incredible length, the diaries are not without a

certain charm” (Amis 1732). Others saw the diaries as a simplistic record

of events. “His diaries are more or less just records of who went where

and did what with whom, that anybody else who’d been along could have

kept” (Plagens 1732). It’s too bad he didn’t start the diaries earlier in

his life, such as the 60’s, “when it would have been more interesting to

know what he did and whom he was with, instead of waiting until 1976 to

begin” (Plagens 1732). Some even complained of the editing job done by Pat

Hackett. “One problem with the diaries is their postmodern polish, such as

the casual proofreading and editing” (Trebay 1732). The reason the editor

didn’t fit up to par was the mere fact she wanted it to sound how Andy

explained the day. “…still the book is great social history with its

lip-smacking tales of loveless, sexless marriages, its gimlet-eyed view of

other people’s success, and its rampant unclosetings” (Trebay 1732). I,

myself, found the book very entertaining and a great nonchalant look at

the famous and their everyday lives. It may have been organized better and

condensed a bit, but none-the-less it was still interesting and kept me