Andy Warhol, born in 1928, is arguably one of the most influential figures of modern and contemporary art. After developing a rare nervous system disease as a child that left him bedridden for months, he began his first drawing lessons. He also became enamoured by films and also developed a passion for photography at a young age. He grew up to become a successful illustrator, and provided his art to be used for magazines and advertisements. Becoming one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s, Warhol decided to explore a more conceptual side to his work, debuting the concept of pop art: art that focused on consumerism, the visuals of commercialism, and popular culture.
Inspired by everyday life, Warhol found brands and logos an ideal visual marker for contemporary life and embraced mass-produced products and commercial artifacts, transforming their imagery into fine art. Coca Cola bottles and Campbells soup cans have since become icons of the art movement and thus of art history. Warhol also began silkscreen printing, allowing for multiples of the same image—and his portraits often features repeated images of himself or celebrities in vibrant colour combinations.
A celebrity in his own right, Warhol embodied the quintessential “artist as persona” and embraced the idea of celebrity, marketing, controversy and mainstream appeal. His studio attracted famous names, and it became a creative hub for parties and experimentation, for art as well as drugs, and music. His polaroid portraits of his avant-garde creative posse became an iconic art series in its own right. Warhol eagerly experimented with a wide variety of art forms, including performance, filmmaking, and installations—infamously blurring the lines between high and low art.