Andrew Warhola (6 August 1928 – 22 February 1987), known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and member of highly diverse social circles that included Bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.
Pop art was an experimental form that several artists were independently adopting; some of these pioneers, such as Roy Lichtenstein, would later become synonymous with the movement. Warhol, who would become famous as the “Pope of Pop”, turned to this new style, where popular subjects could be part of the artist’s palette. His early paintings show images taken from cartoons and advertisements, hand-painted with paint drips. Those drips emulated the style of successful abstract expressionists (such as Willem de Kooning). Warhol’s first pop art paintings were displayed in April 1961, serving as the backdrop for New York Department Store Bronwit Teller’s window display.
Eventually, Warhol wanted a distinguishing subject. Eventually, Warhol pared his image vocabulary down to the icon itself – to brand names, celebrities, dollar signs – and removed all traces of the artist’s “hand” in the production of his paintings. Gallerist Muriel Latow gave Warhol the ideas for both the soup cans and Warhol’s dollar paintings. For his first major exhibition, Warhol showed his famous painted cans of Campbell’s Soup, which he claimed to have had for lunch for most of his life. He loved celebrities, so he painted them as well. From these beginnings he developed his later style and subjects. Instead of working on a signature subject matter, as he started out to do, he worked more and more on a signature style, slowly eliminating the hand-made from the artistic process. Warhol frequently used silk-screening; his later drawings were traced from slide projections.
The unifying element in Warhol’s work is his deadpan Buster Keaton style – artistically and personally affectless. This was mirrored by Warhol’s own demeanor, as he often played “dumb” to the media and refused to explain his work. The artist was famous for having said that all you need to know about him and his works is already there, “Just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” (WIKIPEDIA)