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Andy Warhol

Warhol's soup cans Andy Warhol started as a commercial artist and illustrator and was also a store-window designer. He always kept in tune with the trends and fashions of the moment. Up until the early 60's, footwear was a recurring theme in Warhol's work. Many critics see this as his most important commercial phase. He was an undisguised fetishist and once had an idea to sell film stars' underwear, washed at $15 and more for unwashed. Unfortunately, this idea never came to fruition. (I would have sprung for Jennifer Love Hewitt's. Unwashed, of course.)

The early pictures Warhol painted in the 60's used graphic motifs taken from advertising and comics. He drew on these comics for inspiration and changed the small illustrations into paintings. In 1961 Warhol exhibited some of these works in the window displays of the Bonwit Teller department store. He 'borrowed' images from other sources and some of his images were complete rip-offs of other people's images, and yet the public loved it. (Roy Liechtenstein did the same thing with his pop-art comic book images.)

Warhol stunned the world with his iconic and ironic treatment of the humble soup tin and other supermarket goods. As a result of this he was constantly appearing in the press. In 1966 he lined his factory in silver and exhibited helium-filled rectangular silver mylar balloons. In 1968 Warhol attended a celebratory event in Stockholm in his honor. He later said, "I was going to send someone that looked like me, it worked once before." Warhol created his art for his own profit by taking advantage of the trends of the time and interpreting them into an art-form. In this way he was a marketing genius He used well known pop-culture images, like Marilyn Monroe, Campbell's Soup tins and even the Barbie Doll (in the early 80's); this is why many of his works were used (and still are) in advertising. His images created interest, attention and eventually notoriety.

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