Having the title of a designer, film director, painter, photographer, stylist and writer made Andrew Warhola into the prince of Pop Art. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6th, 1928, Andy Warhol was focused on all his talents at an early age. He studied commercial art at the School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, now known as Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating with a degree in fine arts, Warhol decided to start his new life in New York City. He was lucky enough to find a job in magazine illustration and advertising and quickly began his up-and-coming career.
Warhol became a significant figure in the visual art society, introducing his work that displayed connections between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. He was famous for letting his opinions be known to communities around him making his title as a controversial artist. He once stated, “In our day everyone should have an image of his own: be free to create one for himself”, proving to the world that he did not care what others thought of him because everyone is different and should be proud of their personal self appearance.
The talented man produced many films, painting and other creations eventually turning art into a mass phenomenon. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is home to the largest museum in the United States of America dedicated to one specific artist. The Andy Warhol Museum consists of the most widespread perpetual collection coming from the man himself. Warhol’s artistic ability was produced in many ways including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening and sculpture. In the 1960’s Warhol became a successful commercial illustrator and began to make paintings of iconic American products.
He was seeking not only to make art of mass-produced items but than to mass-produce the art he made. In April 1961, Warhol created work based on advertising imagery and comic strip characters, which were publicized for a short period of time at a department store. Warhol soon discovered artists who painted comic strips as well and immediately decided he a new subject matter was necessary. Found in millions of American homes, the soup can became Andy Warhol’s next craze. Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans were first displayed in Los Angeles in 1962.
The exhibit was confined of thirty-two soup can portraits but Warhol’s stood out and transformed him into a sudden sensation. His still- life paintings idea came from Post-War economic recovery where the household brand of packaged food was most popular. Warhol produced many varieties of soup when coming up with the idea but ‘Tomato’ was his most favored and cherished. The particular flavor matched his idea being the original and best seller. Not only was this a painting of a tin of canned soup but a piece of artwork with pure visual qualities of curved lines and iconic graphic imagery.
The artist used his own style to enhance and strengthen the soup can painting creating a superior image. Warhol’s start of the use of silkscreen began in the year that he discovered the soup can obsession. He turned away from his blotted-line technique and chose to use paint and canvas for his next creation until he discovered silk screening. This made Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can one of the original examples of landscape transformation. Warhol questioned the use of artistic subjectivity while using the commercial base process of silkscreen to superficially change the ordinary piece of art.
The technique used a specially prepared section of silk as a stencil, allowing one silk-screen to create similar patterns multiple times. Ironically, Warhol used this style for the rest of his life and career as a artist. Painted in 1962, The Campbell’s Soup Can sequence gave Warhol a chance to portray his optimistic outlooks on modern culture. Warhol connected his artwork with realistic situations happening in the world around him. When he first exhibited Campbell’s Soup Cans, each of the thirty-two canvases rested on a shelf mounted on the wall, resembling groceries in a store.
The number of paintings corresponded to the assortment of soup then sold by the Campbell Soup Company. Other than being a definite image to deep design sensibility, the Campbell Soup Can also had a personal significance to Andy Warhol. The artist stated, “Because I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again. Someone said my life has dominated me; I liked that idea”. The painting is a symbol of memories for Warhol while growing up.
His work will forever resemble his childhood years while growing up to be such a talented and unforgettable figure in the pop art culture. Many critiques and opinions were shaped after Warhol’s painting dominated the art culture. Some individuals praised the brilliance and modernity of Warhol’s soup can idea while others portrayed it as a boring piece of work. Regardless of why Andy Warhol chose soup cans as a subject matter, by representing something as ordinary as a soup can on canvas this demonstrated that “at bottom, the ordinary is not ordinary; it is extraordinary”.