Andy Warhol, born in Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928, became a founder and major leader of the avant-garde pop art movement of the early 1960s, a form of art that depicts everyday life while using various techniques of commercial art and illustration.
A graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949 with a degree in pictorial design, Warhol became a successful fashion illustrator in New York City and later went on to taking an interest in his controversial pop art, turning his variations of many popular mass media images, such as the Campbell's soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, Brillo soap pads, and the faces of such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe into a major success open to interpretation by many members of the American culture. In the 1960's, Warhol began the development of the silk screening process by which an enlarged photographic image is transferred to a silk screen which is then placed on a canvas and inked from behind. It was this process that allowed Warhol to produce his series of mass media images in 1962, quickly turning him into a major success.
Moving towards mainstream narrative cinema, Warhol turned his attention to filmmaking in the 1960's. Warhol then went on to produce a series of experimental pictures, dealing with such concepts as time and boredom. Various films of Warhol's include: Sleep (1963), Empire (1964), The Chelsea Girls (1966), The Lonesome Cowboys (1967), and Flesh (1968). Many of Warhol's films were also of controversial nature as not many have been in legal distribution. In Britain, for instance, the only films legally available include: The Chelsea Girls, Lonesome Cowboys, Flesh, Trash, and Heat. Other classics of Warhol's such as Sleep, Blow Job, and Vinyl have become notorious for having a poor reputation due to the controversial nature and nudity seen in these films.
By the fall of 1969, Warhol began his own underground movie magazine entitled Interview, acquiring a small audience at first. Interview later gained popularity, proliferating the tabloid style of close up views of the rich and famous.
Warhol later went on to manage the rock music group Velvet Underground and later produced the controversial and long awaited Velvet Underground and Nico album in 1967. Although Warhol's art and films were a guaranteed success, success was not guaranteed for the airplay for the Velvet Underground. The album did poorly and Warhol never received any payment for royalties. Although Warhol did not receive any royalties, he still continued to prosper in the 1970's.
In the late 1970's, Warhol then went on to write books such as The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (1975,) Andy Warhol's Exposures (1979,) and America (1985.)
Warhol later died a sudden death on February 22, 1987, while in a hospital recovering from a gall bladder operation. At fifty-eight years old, Warhol had not released a film for over a decade, yet he still remained a celebrity after his death gaining widespread recognition for the introduction of pop art and for his success in his lifelong dedication in his career in pop art.