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Zeljko Koljesar
September 18, 2002

Andy WARHOL -Artist and Filmmaker

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh on August 6th, 1928. He was the third son of Ondrej Warhola and his wife Julia Zavacky. The reason why I decided to choose Andy Warhol is because his family and I share the same background. We are Ruthenians! His parents emigrated from the Carpathian Mountains located in Central Europe.

As a boy, young Andy attended Holmes Elementary school. When he was eight he got sick from rheumatic fever that later turned into chorea. He was made fun at school and therefore he was nursed at home by his mother. When he turned nine, Andy started going to morning art classes at the Carnegie Museum. After he graduated from high school, he went to study art at the Carnegie Institue of Technology where he majored in pictorial design. This is where he learned the Bauhaus technique that art was a business. After he graduated from college, he opened his own studio in New York called the Factory.

While at college his friends and fellow students thought he had "a childlike duality about him". However, not one person then considered that he might be homosexual. In 1948, he had a job in the display department of a store and he used to paint his fingernails a different color every day and also he used to dye his shoes odd colors.

Shortly after in 1949 he moved to New York and got a job as a commercial artist. He got his first break in August 1949, when Glamour Magazine wanted him to illustrate a feature entitled "Success is a Job in New York". But by accident the credit read "Drawings by Andy Warhol" and that's how Andy dropped the "a" in his last name. In 1953 he received one of his first awards for his advertisement for the radio programme the Nation's Nightmare. He is considered a founder and major figure of the POP ART movement. He continued doing ads and illustrations and by 1955 he was the most successful and imitated commercial artist in New York. In 1960 he produced the first of his paintings showing enlarged comic strip images - such as Popeye and Superman . He worked as an illustrator for several magazines including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker and did advertising and window displays for retail stores such as Bonwit Teller and I. Miller.

In 1953, a year after his mother moved to New York to live with him, Andy began going so bald that he bought a wig for himself. He was one of the first individuals to do so back at that time.

The main focus of his interest was repetition. He developed silk screen techniques and this is how he could reproduce images more easily. His Marilyn Monroe (1962) was inspired by her death. These specific images, incorporating such items as Campbell's Soup cans, dollar bills, Coca-Cola bottles, and the faces of celebrities, can be taken as comments on the banality, harshness, and ambiguity of American culture.

By 1963, drugs were a huge influence in Andy's life and on the Factory's output. Warhold turned the Factory into a film making studio. He has made a series of underground films, which were tremendously long (some over 25 hours) and lacked action. These films were dealing with such ideas as time, boredom, and repetition and some of them are Sleep (1963), Empire (1964), and The Chelsea Girls (1966). He always used to get his friends to act in his films, but he would rarely pay them.

On June 3rd, 1968, Valerie Solanis, a rejected superstar, came into The Factory and shot Andy three times in the chest. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, but after having his chest cut up and been given heart massage, he survived. Valerie Solanis turned herself in that night and was put in a mental institution. She was later given a three year prison sentence.

In the 70s he was respected by the Rock world. He had become a cult figure for the jet-set society. At the start of the 1970s, Warhol began publishing Interview magazine and renewed his focus on painting. He also published The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again). At that time Warhol exhibited his work extensively in museums and galleries around the world.

Andy Warhol died in New York on February 27, 1987 after a gallbladder operation and was buried next to his parents. The Andy Warhol Museum opened in Pittsburgh in May 1994. He is considered by many as the most influential American artist of the second half of the 20th century.


  1. BBC Education, Andy Warhol:

  2. Andy Warhol Homepage:

  3. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts:



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