A Study of Mass Production in Art – Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an ethnic Slovak, born and brought up by Russian parents in Pittsburgh (US). Warhol is noted for his valuable contributions in the breakthrough of art from the galleries to everyday “non-art” items such as, the Soup Can or the Vinyl Records. His glorification of the Kitsch and mundane was the start of the Pop Art Movement in America, which broke the barriers of elitist art and made creativity an accessible part of day to day living for everyone. If today the Kitsch is in fashion, Lichtenstein and Warhol are no small reasons to it. They both are the Marx & Engel combine of Commercial Art.
Andy Warhol is known as a commercial artist. His actual claim to fame however, is his successful attempt at giving creative respectability to Visual Art in mass produced commercial items. Warhol started his career, designing Vinyl Record Covers. His presentation of Pop Art in the form of “Campbell Soup Cans” in New York, paved way for the glorification of the till then neglected area of product design. Often considered the crass bread butter cousin of avant garde art, Andy helped the commercial art leap out of Soapbox Covers, Soup Cans, Plastic Packing, and Advertising, into a respectable bona fide art form.
His visually “in your face” images became the iconic remainders of Capitalism and Andy Warhol defiantly worshiped the Gods of Capitalism through those images. Warhol’s motivation of this Capitalist worship was his basic and firm idea that mass production is the greatest leveler in today’s society. Andy Warhol often elucidated the fact that “a Coke Can that the President enjoys is the same as the one the bum on the street does. Therefore, the Coke Can happens to be an ultimate piece of art.”
Andy Warhol steadily worked to develop a certain style of work, distinctly different from Roy and other great players of Pop Art. Working on the subjects he loved and dealt with in routine, Andy Warhol converted the items of daily use, street objects, and tools into simplified yet intricate pieces of art. Warhol would work diligently on these regular items to yield them a new, exclusive look. The first reaction on seeing a Warhol work would be a typical pleasant and surprised exclamation.
Quintessentially brought up on a steady dose of a great American dream, Andy Warhol dabbled (often successfully) in books, films, and philanthropy. He would often make rules and then break them with impudence. Andy Warhol did everything the prim and proper Parisian Artists abhorred. He made Silkscreen Prints of Paintings and mass-produced them. He made simple sketches and sold them at exorbitant prices. Moreover, he was a Closet Homosexual who was also an Orthodox Christian.
Despite his art works being subjected to controversies, Andy Warhol successfully secured a place in the hall of fame. His selective portrayal of everyday icons and images as art, displayed his rare spark of creativity. Rest all are just the fine details, which Warhol would have otherwise trampled, as he would have walked from mortality to the pantheon of the Gods of Arts.