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Andy Warhol: Philosophy On Life

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“I just paint things I always thought were beautiful, things you use everyday and never think about… I just do it because I like it. (Beckris 110) Ijust do it because I like it is Andys philosophy on life. Andy might just bethe most interesting and and at the same time the most confusing individual youwill ever read about. Andys work is like none others. His art brought commonday people together and showed the impact of contemporary society and the ideaof mass media on values.

Andys father Ondrej Wharhola is best described as abald, burly man with a bulging belly and massive upper arms, pudgy nose andbristling sideburns. Ondrej was born in 1889 in Minkova. (Bekris, 6) He wasmarried and living with Julia Warhola, mother of Andy, for three years in Mikova.

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In order to avoid being drafted into the Balkan conflict in 1912 he immigratedto Pittsburgh without her at the age of seventeen to work in a coal field in theindustrial district of Philadelphia.

(Bekris, 7) Julia Warhola was born in asmall village in the Capathian mountains outside of Czechoslovakia. Julia wasthe oldest and prettiest of her fifteen other siblings. She was also said to bethe artistic one of the bunch. (Bekris, 7) In 1914 Julia gave birth to a babygirl. Because of the conditions due to the war the infant contracted influenzasix months later and died. Julias mother was so depressed about the news ofthe infants death that she died one month later. (Bekris, 8-9) Julia was nowreliable for her only two surviving sisters of ages six and nine. For the nextfour years Julia fled from the soldiers, hiding in woods and barns. She wassupposed to be receiving money from Ondrej but because she was always on the runshe never saw the money. From 1918-1921 she raised 160 dollars to go to theunited states to find Ondrej. (Bekris, 9) Andy Warhol was born on September 28,1930 in Forest City, Pennsylvania. Or so we think. This is what the originalbirth certificate read but Andy wanted people to believe he was born in McKeesport, or even Hawaii. He also stays true to believe the certificate is aforgery. Most books and other reportable sources confirm that he was indeed bornin 1930 but the dates do range from 1925-1931 (Bekris, 10). Andy was raised in acoal mining town in Philadelphia. It was a dark musty town were the sky stayedblack. The town was overrun with poverty and crime. (Bekris, 10) Being raised inan environment as such would greatly affect a persons personality in theirlater years. This might explain Andys later fascination with death relatedtopics. In 1930 Andys father got a steady job laying roads and moving houses.

This was a high paying job at the time because of the mass rate of growth in thecities. Ondrej saved his money and one-year later moved his family into a largerhouse on Beelan Street. Shortly after moving into the house Ondrej lost his joband was forced to move into a two-bedroom apartment. The rent was six dollars aweek and Andys father had to work odd jobs to just barley pay the rent. Itwas not just Andy and his parents. Andy had two other brothers, one older andone younger. All three of the children were said to be afraid of their father.

“Dad didnt like us to start commotion because he was so exhausted and hewould get emotionally upset. Usually all he had to do was look at you.” (Beckris12) Andy always had a problem with grammar school. He was not a social child andpreferred to keep to himself. As most children do, they saw this in Andy andpicked on him frequently. (Bekris, 18) Andys brother Paul stated, “Atage four Andy cried a lot at school and one day a little black girl slappedhim” (Beckris 15) He was very traumatized by this incident and asked hismother if she could keep him home from school. As the loving mother she was, shetook Andy out of school and kept him home for two years. Over this time hebecame very close to his mother. When it was time for him to return to school hethrew a temper tantrum. It took his mother, brother and neighbor to drag Andyback to school. Because of this incident he developed a nervous tick. (Rateliff,11) Fortunately, Ondrej got his old job back and earned enough money to moveback into a larger house in Oak Land. This town was much more suitable forraising a child and had better school systems. In this town Andy made newfriends, which were particularly girls. This would later explain Andyshomosexual tendencies. Margie Girman was one of his closest friends. She wassaid to be bright and stimulating which would encourage Andy to do better inschool.

Andy began to have a fascination with the cinema. Every weekend he andMargie would go to the movies. At the end of every show the ushers would handout autographed photos of the actors and actresses. Andy would end up usingthese same images in his prints. Andy started to distance himself from boys andbecame closer to girls and his new found talent of drawing. Andys brotherJohn said, ” When Andy was out in the field by the time you hit the ball hewasnt there.” (Bekris, 16-17) He would go back to the house and draw inhis notebook. Andy soon got the reputation as a “mamas boy”. If he wasnot with his girlfriends or sketching in his notebook, he was out with hismother helping her pick out hats and skirts. At age six Andy had entered thesecond grade. His teacher Catharine Meta said that Andy would walk through thehalls with his head down wishing he was invisible. This made him a prime suspectfor abuse by his fellow classmates.

From early on in Andys life he had been asickly child. Because Andy was known to be a mamma’s boy and a crybaby hisparents paid little to no attention to him when he whined about being hurt orsick. At age two Andys eyes swelled shut due to an infection and his motherhad to use daily doses of boric acid to get rid of the mucus. At age four he was playing on the train tracks and broke his arm. The wound went unnoticed forseveral weeks until someone saw an unnatural bend to his arm. The bone had to bere-broken and set. At age six Andy contracted scarlet fever, which would latereffect his overall development. His illness went unnoticed until Andy began notbeing able to control his limbs or speech. He had trouble holding his own armand completing a sentence. This part of Andys life greatly contributed to his mistrust in people and his art. (Bekris, 19) Andys art talent in high schoolwas amazing. He drew everything he laid his eyes on. Even though he had such agreat talent he was still singled out. Lee Karageores says “But sorely hewas sort of left out. He wasnt even in the art club because his talent was sosuperior.” Andy attended Scheley High School. During his senior year heapplied to both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Institute ofTechnology. Andy was accepted to both but chose to attend Carnegie Tech.

Carnegie Tec’s academic standards were high and the courses extremelycompetitive. (Rateliff, 12) This was because his graduating class consisted ofabout only one hundred students. The school motto best describes its standards”Laborare est Orare” to labor is to pray is what it means in Latin.

Andys freshman courses consisted of drawing, pictorial and decorative design,color, hygiene, and thought and expression. Andy had a great struggle with allof his courses but thought and expression was his worst. This was probably sobecause of Andys phobia of expressing himself orally. Andy was a man of fewwords; also another reason was because he had such poor grammar. Fortunately,Andy made two friends in this class who tried to get Andy a passing grade. Evenwith their combined effort he failed out of the course. At the time Andy wasattending school, there was an economic depression, and the war was ending. (Bekris,37) Because of the war veterans that were returning, jobs became scarce andCarnegie Tech was forced to drop students in order to make room. Andy was one ofthem. Because Andy showed such passion to his work his teachers fought to haveAndy attend summer school and go for re-admissions the following year. (Feldman,9) While Andy was attending summer school he got a job delivering fruit with hisbrother. As he worked he carried a sketchbook drawing whatever appealed to him.

An eyewitness recalled “He drew what he saw, you could see the nude bodiesof the women through their battered clothes, babies hanging on mothers necks. Hereally got the essence of this depressing side of life.” When Andy returnedfor readmitions he presented the sketchbook. They allowed Andy back in. Alongwith being able to come back to Carnegie Tech, his sketches were put on displayand Andy received forty dollars. This was the first time Andy had ever receivedmoney for his work. At the time of Andys graduation he was skeptical aboutleaving his mother. He was debating whether to pursue his talent or become aschoolteacher and live with his mother.

Fortunate for us he became an artist andcreated some of the worlds most interesting paintings. Andy decided he wantedto move to New York City. His mother was very disappointed. She told Andy thathe would end up in a gutter, penniless. A good friend of Andys, PhilipPearlstine convinced Andy to move to Manhattan with him. (Bekris, 50) He did andended up spending eight years there. In June 1949, Andy and Pearlstine movedinto a small apartment on Saint Marks Street. (Bekris, 51) Later on Andy wouldmove out of this apartment and get his own studio in an abandonedhook-and-ladder firehouse only a few blocks away from Pearlstiens. The onlyminor set back was that the floor was littered with hole and the ceiling leaked,sometimes destroying entire paintings.

Over the next few years Andy would movearound from rat hole to rat hole. Over this time Andys mother came to livewith him and he also began to get noticed. Between moves Andy held manydifferent jobs. In 1951 Andy got a job as a major assistant to illustrate aComplete Book of Etiquette by Amy Vanderbits. (Bekris, 53) For the next two tothree years Andy did illustration work for magazines and store windows. Hedevoted all his time to work and was making a decent amount of money. He alsogot the reputation as a workaholic. Pearlstine said that Andy was “aworkaholic who sat at a table and worked all day and often late at night. Hewould do several versions of each assignment, showing all… art dealers lovedhim for that.” (Bekris, 53) These were the golden years for art designersand magazine publishers, which attracted some of the most desirable graphicdesigners. In 1963 Andy moved into a flat at 231 East 47th street. (Bekris, 141)This location would later be known as the “Factory”. Andy did most ofhis recognized art here. He was said to be like a machine. A quote from theartist.

“The reason Im painting this very way is because I want to be amachine.” (Cameo, 8) The Factory had a large freight elevator that took youto the loft. The doors opened up to a 140-sq./ft room with a couple of toiletsin the back and a payphone buy the door. The Factory soon became the “incrowd hang out”. Its tripy lighting and tin foil walls attracted every typeof person. The Factory was now a cultural Mecca, part film studio, and partSalvation Army for the struggling artists. The majority of the crowd was calledthe “amphetamine rapture group” but better known as the “molepeople” because they lived in the underworld of the city and only came outat night. (Cameo, 8) Andy continued to make money and turning out electric chairprints as part of the death-and-disaster series. As you the viewer can tell froma variety of Andys paintings, he had an erotic side to him. Andy has nevercome entirely out with the truth but some interesting facts have been found.

Andy first discovered he had a homosexual taste when he was a student atCarnegie Tech. Andy also had an off and on relationship with a friend whom hemet in the autumn of 1945. (Shanes, 11) Most of Andys Advertisements andwindow displays incorporated shoes. The majority of the time he was asked toredo them because they came across as being too sexual. He was also known tohave a slight foot fetish. Boyfriends of Andy have admitted that Andy enjoyedlicking their shoes while making love. He also published a quite graphic seriescalled “Drawings for a boy book” (Shanes, 11) Although Andy never”came out” he was known to be a part of the “lavender”social world, which was an underground social world with gays and transvestites.

Andy wanted to bring avant grade artists and the public together. The commonpeople are the ones intended for Andys art. In 1958 Andy made the transitionto this idea from commercial artist to “Fine Artist”. (Shanes, 15)This was after a similar artists movement of John Rauschenburg. After hiswork with I Miller Shoes in the 1960s, which was a large shoe manufacturer,his subjects started to move to common day objects. In 1961 Andy started to playwith the idea of mass production. (Cameo, 8) He chose common day items such asCampbell soup cans, money, Coca-Cola, and newspaper headlines. He also did workon famous people such as Marilyn Manroe and Jackie Onasis. In starting pop artAndy called upon everything he had learned from advertising. Also from TV wherethe dollar sign and the gun were predominate symbols, where the subliminalmessage was sexual desire without gratification, and were the immediate aim wasto shock. Andy chose to paint a series of big black-and-white pictures of whatartists were supposed to hate most. The look from the backs of cheep magazines.

The simplest crummiest ads for jobs, TV, wigs, and canned food, Andy made intoart. Andys transition is only best explained visually. In his early workswith portraits such as “Ladies and Gentleman” 1917 (1) and”Truman Capote”1979 (2) they show how Andy uses vibrant colors toemphasize specific features. In his “Untitled” (Hernia) 1960-62 (3)painting it shows his work with common day ads and simplicity. This print almostlooks like it came from a textbook. “Front and Back of Dollar bills”(4) experiments with the use of silk screen and mass production. This paintingis quite striking because when you think about it money might just be the mostmass-produced object in the world. Andy also had a tendency to paint unordinarythings like his “cow” (5) painting. He stayed within his style ofcolor but the cow is neither a famous portrait nor a mass-produced object. Afterthe tragic suicide of Marilyn Monroe in 1962 Andy became somewhat obsessed withher beauty. (Bekris, 113) He would use pictures of her lips and produce themhundreds of times using bright sexy colors. He always focused on her most sexualfeatures such as he hair, eyes, and lips. “Marilyn Monroe Lips” 1962(6) and “Marilyn”.

Andy had another artistic style to him, it was onethat came from his childhood. Being raised in poverty and being exposed to suchhorrific sights contributed to his next “Movement” of work. Andy wascurious in the acts of God whether it is from Mother Nature to killings oratomic bombs. Andy would make reproductions of all these incidents. It wasntuntil Henry Geldchler shoed Andy a more productive direction. In June of 1962Geldchler suggested that Andy start looking at the “dark side of Americanculture” in a more artistic way. (Bekris 126) Andy new he had to come upwith a new idea that would shock his audience as much as the soup cans anddollar bills had. Andy began doing paintings such as “car crash” 1963(7) and “electric chair” (8). These images were extremely powerful.

You were not just looking at an image in the newsprint you were looking at animage that was twice as large as you were and repeated ten times. Also he alwayschose a color to tint these images in. The color gives a mysterious side to it,which makes you want to know the rest of the story. The”Death-and-disaster” series became recognized as some of his bestworks, but at the same time many of his supporters found the imagesunacceptable. None of his supporters wanted to hang a picture of a man mangledin his car over their fireplace. The prints did do extremely well but only overseas in Europe and Germany. Some other famous prints are, “SixteenJacques” 1964 “Lavender Disaster” 1963(9) and”Sucide”1963 (10). “Oxidation Painting” 1978 (11) is in thedeath-and-disaster series but has a different twist to it. It is two largesheets of copper that had been treated with patina. While wet they were urinatedon showing the given effect. Along with his artistic style his physicalappearance began to change. He began wearing a silver blond wig that fit on hishead haphazardly. (Bekris, 99) He even went as far as to change his speech andmannerisms. For the next several years Andy continued with his death anddisaster series. He was now a world-renowned artist and had private showsthroughout the world. In 1986, Andy flew to Milan for the opening of his lastshow. During the last two days in Milan Andy did not leave the hotel. “Hewas in much pain” recalled Daniel Morear. “He was in bed” whichwas quite unusual for Andy to be in bed let alone for two days. At the end of1986 his gallstones had become so enlarged that they had become lifethreatening. Andy refused to go to a hospital because of his great fear of them.

In the first week of February his illness stopped him dead in his tracks. Forthe first time in his life Andy abandoned his friends in the middle of a nightout on the town to go home and spend the evening in his bed. A sonogram taken byDr. Cox showed the gallbladder to be severely infected, inflamed, and filledwith fluid. The next day Andy was scheduled to be admitted into New YorkHospital. The operation was supposed to take place on Saturday and have Andyhome by late Sunday. Saturday morning Andy locked all his valuables in his safeand headed to the hospital. He had also made it very clear that no one, not evenhis mother should know he was going to the hospital. When he was admitted theyput him under the name of Bob Roberts.

A report from the New York Times Magazineby M.A Farba and Lawrence Altman stated: After fifteen hours of preparation,Warhols surgery was preformed between 8:45 am and 12:10 p.m. on SaturdayFebruary 21, 1987. There were no complications at the time – and none were foundduring the autopsy or by any of the doctors who had received the case. Warholspent three hours in recovery after the surgery, and at 3:45pm was taken to hisprivate room on the twelfth floor of Baker Pavilion. For comfort precaution andon the recommendation of Dr. Cox, his regular physician, Warhol was placed inthe hands of a private duty nurse, rather than the normal complement of staffnurses. He was examined during the afternoon and early evening by the seniorattending physicians, who noted nothing unusual. Alert and seemingly in goodspirits, Warhol watched television and around 9:30 p.m. spoke to the housekeeper at his east side home, a few blocks away.

Min Chou was the private nurseattending to Andy. It was not known whether she kept her post but it was clearthat she did not record his vital signs and neglected to give him medicine. At10pm and at 4am on Sunday February 22, Min Chou, the private nurse who had beenselected by the hospital from a registry, took Andys blood pressure and foundit stable. She gave a progress report to the chief surgical resident bytelephone at 11pm; presumably while the patient slept. At 5:45am Ms. Chounoticed that Warhol had turned blue and his pulse had weakened. Unable to wakenhim she summoned the floor nurse who in the words of a colleague, “almosthad a stroke” A cardiac arrest team began resuscitation efforts butaccording to hospital sources, had difficulty putting a tube in Warholswindpipe because rigor mortis had started to set in.

At 6:31am the artist waspronounced dead. The art world suffered a great lose with the death of AndyWarhol. His personal style will always move forward touching and changingpeoples lives every day. Andy was a one of a kind and will never berecreated. To understand his art is a feeling many people over look. It is anevery day reminder that we dont take the time to look at what goes on aroundus. Now when I walk I wont just look down but all around me. At the trees,clouds, bricks under my feet, and the entire world moving around me.

Cite this Andy Warhol: Philosophy On Life

Andy Warhol: Philosophy On Life. (2019, Mar 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/andys-philosophy-on-life/

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