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Prince of Pop Art

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Pop art surrounds us today, thanks to a genius of the twentieth century.

On August 6, 1928, change came to this art world. The prodigy was born. His name was Andy Warhol, the man who led his battle between Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism, gaining his victory. His passion for art sprouted in his early years, clinging to his talent for the rest of his life. He succeeded by developing his distinctive techniques of Pop Art which singled him out from other artists. He swiftly rose to his fame and wealth in the Big Apple. However, this genius always craved for more, pushing himself to keep working, transforming into an even more successful person. Andy Warhol came from the slums of Pittsburg, rising to the peak in New York purely based on one talent, his art.

During Warhol’s childhood, his interest was kindled by the encouragement of his mother. Born Andrew Warhola in a small town of Soho in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, His family was poor with his parents struggling for meager wages. However, Warhol’s mother always urged Warhol to keep drawing. Although a timid boy, Warhol displayed no shyness in his artwork, and teachers recognized his extraordinary talent with portraits. In 1945, Warhol was accepted and chose to attend the Carnegie Institute of Technology.

After graduating in 1949, Warhol set his mind on New York. He wanted to be successful. Despite the caution of ending up penniless like hundreds of other artists, his determination drove him to take the chance to jump start his career in the Big Apple.

He showed up for countless interviews for any art opportunities, as if he were desperate. Soon, he started getting more offers for jobs rather than visiting various agencies. He received numerous assignments from art directors ranging from Seventeen, Charm, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar magazines to the record cover of a Columbia Records album. At age 25, Warhol had an income of 25,000 dollars in 1953, which is about 1,750,000 dollars today.

In 1961, Pop Art, a style of art inspired by commercial art and cultural mass media, was spreading throughout the society. Warhol experimented with Coca-Cola bottles and cartoon characters which he brought to life. Not much later, he quickly became famous worldwide through his successful soup cans.

Warhol used many unique styles of art. He repeated images, often 100 times on a single canvas, called mass media. He said, “If one is good, a 100 must be better." In the 1950's, he developed the blotted-line technique. He drew the picture with ink and used a sheet of paper to press on top of the ink drawing to double and transfer the image. Warhol preferred unevenness, texture, and some areas darker than others in order to give his paintings depth in color. By the 1960's he was renowned for his Pop Art. In the 1970's he used the silkscreen technique to draw faces of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Albert Einstein, and Muhammad Ali, adding a colorful and vibrant touch to each face. His art broadened people’s vision of contemporary art, expressing how simple yet complex he was.

His galleries displaying portraits of Monroe and his famous Campbell’s soup cans immediately caught the public’s eye. In the 1960's, Warhol enjoyed his new lifestyle from all his success. Warhol was known as the Prince of Pop, a celebrity artist, and an influential international icon. He sold his paintings for $25 million and with all that money, he bought a glamorous lifestyle, including drugs, fashion, celebrity, and the press altogether. Once he became rich and famous, his life was all about craziness. Andy was homosexual and cared about his appearance, always wearing a bright silver wig to hide his baldness. He craved fame and wealth more than anything, always remembering that the only way to reach the "American Dream" was by working hard.

In 1962, Warhol founded the Factory which was mainly an art studio, but also a film studio, experimental theatre, clubhouse, community center, lounge, and a literary workshop. At the same time, he was leading the battle between his Pop style and Abstract Art. When Solanas attempted to assassinate him, Warhol realized that he had to control his life and be careful of people nearby him.

In the 1970's, Andy was back on his feet and ready to work again. He founded Interview Magazine and published a book THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol. In the book, he says, "Making money is art, and working is art, and good business is the best art.”

On February 22, 1987 Andy Warhol died after a gall bladder operation. More than 2,000 people visited his funeral. The value of Warhol’s artwork sky-rocketed and it was more precious than ever.

Warhol’s accomplishments have enlightened many people today to be creative, innovative, and imaginative in modern art. Who knew that Campbell's Soup Cans would be his key to success?





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