As a pioneer and central figure of Pop Art, not only did Andy Warhol influence numerous artists, but he also left his mark on Hollywood. However there is a lot more to the artist than his signature look and colourful screen prints.
Andy Warhol is best known for creating iconic Pop art paintings of Campbell’s soup cans and Marilyn Monroe in the 1960s. The legend of Andy Warhol only continues to grow over the years, and his impact on the art world is difficult to overstate. Here are some eccentric facts about the strange man behind some of the most influential art of the twentieth century.
Warhol on fire escape of the Factory, 231 East 47th Street, Photo by Stephen Shore
6 Things you didn’t know about Andy Warhol
1. Warhol was once shot
Radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot Worhol in the torso in 1968, after he rejected a script she has written. Andy was taken to the hospital in a critical state after the incident. He damaged several of his organs like lungs, liver and stomach and doctors were only able to revive him only after five long hours of surgery. This lead him to have to wear a medical corset for the rest of his life.
2. A childhood illness introduced him to art and pop culture.
When he was eight, he was bedridden due to a nerve disease called chorea. He spent his time absorbed in radio and film, learning of celebrity news and current events. During recovery, his mother, an artist and embroiderer, gave him drawing lessons. Andy went to an art college using whatever money his father left after his passing.
6. He was nominated for a Grammy
In the 1950s and ’60s, Warhol worked as a freelance commercial artist for companies such as Harper’s Bazaar, RCA Records, and Columbia Records. He designed album artwork for the Rolling Stones, John Cale, and Aretha Franklin, and in 1971 his cover for the Rolling Stones’s album Sticky Fingers was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover.
4. His real name wasn’t Warhol
Andy Warhol’s actual name was Andy Warhola. He changed his last name and dropped the ending alphabet “a” when he moved to the state of New York to pursue a career in the arts after completing his Bachelor degree in the year 1949.
5. He was one of the first artists to exhibit film
Warhol created around 650 experimental films, all lengthy and plotless. Many featured intimate yet universal themes such as sleep and sex. Other films featured the mundane such as eating. Warhol shot a film of himself eating a burger from Burger King.
3. Warhol’s signature look hid his physical flaws.
In his early 20s, Warhol began going bald, so he wore wigs to obscure his hair loss. Warhol’s iconic 1986 series of self-portraits, called Fright Wig, depicts his wild looking silver wigs, and in 2010 one self-portrait sold at Sotheby’s for more than $32 million.
Marilyn Monroe (f & s ii.31), 1967
Size: 36 x 36 inches (91.4 x 91.4 cm)