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Andy Warhol began his career as a commercial artist in New York City. His famous illustrations for I. Miller shoes consisted on blotted ink drawings, which he used in much of his early works. This one was later featured in a booklet, titled "Shoes, Shoes, Shoes." Other works were published in booklets, such as "Yum, Yum, Yum" was about food; and "Ho, Ho, Ho" was about Christmas.
Many artists worked as commercial artists at that time, but Warhol’s popularity lowered his status to be taken seriously as a real artist.
In the 1960s, be began drawing popular culture images towards his art than trying to incorporate what he learned through commercial art. The Campbell’s Soup Can portrait is one of Andy Warhol’s most famous pieces. He drew this painting in 1962, which consists of 32 cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup measuring 20 inches in height, and 16 inches in width. The drawing was produced in a semi-mechanized silkscreen, without using a painting style.
Many of his works centered on popular culture items. He drew a Coca Cola bottle, dollar bills, and portraits of famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Troy Donahue. He drew replications of newspaper clippings of headline stories throughout the 1960s. Each piece he created represented his social commentary on popular culture and his dislike towards how popular culture is forced upon society.
His drawings used bright colors to capture darker themed subjects like suicide and disaster. The way he drew his famous piece ‘Death and Disaster’ transformed personal tragedies into a public spectacle, and the portrayal of the media as the tragedy. The bright colors used within the piece became a style that Warhol used within all of his pieces. This style was also used when he created his famous images of people like Marilyn Monroe, where the bright colors used became Warhol’s style and something that the public knew was his work.
He later ventured into film making, where each of his films captured various images like his paintings. ‘Sleep’ is a six hours documentation of a poet sleeping, and capturing on film what happens throughout that time. That film became one of Warhol’s famous pieces to begin his five year string of films. Other ones like ‘Empire’ is a documentation of eight hours at the Empire State Building at dusk. His most famous movie was ‘Chelsea Girls,’ which told two stories side by side at the same time.
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