Andy Warhol is known for being at the forefront of the pop art movement, but what you may not know is that he was also famous for being a commercial illustrator, a writer, a publisher, a film director and a producer. Andy Warhol had a brilliant mind and was not satisfied with playing just one role in life. He pushed the envelope and found artistic value in everything. Just exactly what made him so different?
Collections of Time
Andy Warhol was a collector of all things. He saved everything he could that depicted time, such as a playbill or a concert ticket. He even saved items such as taxi receipts, toys, clothing and magazines. He would also take photographs, create paintings and make prints from the same time as the other items he collected. Then he would put them altogether in a time capsule.
He saved more than five-hundred in all and they remain at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg. What may be most notable about these collections is that we can see how important the current moment was to him. He found beauty in everything and wanted to save it, and yet he was cognizant of the fact that time would move on and leave him behind. Through his art, he tried his best to preserve it.
Andy Warhol’s films were meant to capture time as well. His works were considered experimental because they were simply depicting real life in the moment. In addition to several feature films, he made nearly five-hundred screen tests. They were silent, four-minute clips that showed a person looking at the camera. For four minutes, you are looking eye to eye with someone, seeing their soul in that moment. He was capturing time and preserving what it looked like for all of those people.
Pop Art: Bringing Awareness
The pop art movement began in Britain in the mid 1950’s, but Andy Warhol introduced America to it in the early 1960’s. He showed that ordinary objects such as soup cans or soap boxes could be art. He played with color and used portraits of well-known people as a canvas for colorful new ways of looking at each feature. Blue hair and orange lips suddenly became art. Again, his mind was seeing the beauty in the normal, everyday things. He then added a layer of colorful surprise and caught people’s attention.
Andy Warhol made replicas of everyday objects, but made them enormous in comparison to their true size. Exaggerating sizes, colors or shapes brought people’s attention to where he was. He used new ways of making art, such as silk screening. Warhol was able to replicate one image and color it in many different ways. He was able to pull the viewer right in and share his world through his pop art.
Progression From Pop Art
As pop art began to die down, Warhol did not lose sight of keeping the public aware of the present moment. He began publishing a magazine, titled Interview, in which he would interview celebrities. Celebrities do tend to define time, whether they mean to or not. This magazine was yet another way that Warhol could save time, so to speak. They spoke about what was current at that moment and it was sealed in the magazine forever.
In the 1980’s, prior to his passing, Warhol returned to more painting, rather than screen printing. He also produced several television shows. He was settling down a bit, but he was still always focused on showing the beauty that was in right in front of everyone. He always drew attention to the inevitable. He even began to accept his own inevitable passing through his artwork. It was important for him to acknowledge that his time was about to stand still.
Andy Warhol was an artist who seemed to be misunderstood by many, but there are also many different interpretations of who he really was. Certainly, much of his work was subjective, and he wanted it that way. He created it and said that he would let the people decide what they thought of it. He did not really care all that much about what they thought. He simply wanted to capture time for them. He wanted people to be present and aware and know that “all is pretty”, which is also the name for his first exhibition outside of the United States. It was in Stockholm in 1968, but the posters are still very popular even today. His message is timeless.