In the 50s, the art world was a challenging, pretentious, and miserly place. Depressions and wars...
5 of Andy Warhol’s Contributions Beyond Mainstream Art
A Glimpse Into His Interests and Hobbies Behind The Scenes
“I don’t think less is more. More is better.”- Andy Warhol
The eccentric artist in floppy silver wigs and classic black Ray-Bans revolutionised the world, both in his contributions to the arts, and through other creative channels. Drawing inspiration from the real world, Warhol’s work reflected and challenged contemporary trends in various fields; ranging from cinematography and show business, to music and magazine illustrations, he covered it all.
1. “Everything has its beauty. But not everyone sees it.”
Warhol’s creativity was fuelled by his spontaneity and impulses, and the nature of his work broke up the monotony of other art being produced at the same time. Through his unique approach, he produced several abstract and absurdist advertisements, and magazine cover illustrations, involving comic characters and cartoons. He also put a contemporary spin on commonplace objects and situations, inspiring the masses to look for art in everything.
2. “They always say time changes things but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Warhol’s genius also manifested in the form of cinematography; he created several controversial short films, such as the infamous ‘Lonesome Cowboys’, and homoerotic photography. These films not only allowed him to express his sexual identity, but also encouraged public conversations about sexuality. His films also helped tackle stigma around same-sex relationships at the time, and served as a commentary on society’s views of homosexuality.
Other art forms that Warhol experimented with include video art, which he used to capture common human experiences. Warhol touched upon the concept of the human gaze in 'Screen Tests', a series of portrait-based films, designed to highlight the variability of human expressions. Warhol framed the shots so that when people were made to sit still, their natural expressions and movements eventually came into play to create a powerful narrative.
3. “It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor’s finger.”
The brilliant artist was a collector himself! A surprising secret hobby only revealed after Warhol’s passing, collecting jewellery was a big part of his lifestyle. Retrieved from deposit boxes and safes at his residence, the art giant’s collection includes several valuable pieces that rivalled the likes of prominent American socialites belonging to the era. His collection included famed jewellery collector Millicent Rogers’ Boivin heart bangle, and a Seaman Schepps designed pristine gold, diamond and ruby bracelet, to name a few.
Warhol also owned an extensive watch collection, comprising 313 pieces, including designs by Patek Phillipe, and Cartier, which have since been sold at multiple auctions, and brought new fame to other similar collections in the jewellery industry.
4. “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
Warhol’s works included colourful drawings for a whimsical cookbook, for which he also invented ridiculous recipes, to mock the contents of high-class French cookbooks. His parody recipes included an ‘Omelet Greta Garbo’, which was "always to be eaten alone in a candlelit room,", and a ‘Roast Iguana Andalusian’ which came with no instructions whatsoever, since it was not commonly found in America, but mentions following the same steps used to cook a ‘burmese lizard’ dish...however that may be prepared. Titled ‘Wild Raspeberries’, the cookbook was self-published by Warhol in 1959, and includes a number of other outrageous recipes and drawings, which were coloured in by schoolchildren who were neighbours to the artist.
5. “Every song has a memory; every song has the ability to make or break your heart, shut down the heart, and open the eyes.”
Warhol not only designed covers for record albums developed by a number of famous musicians, including classical music compositions such as Alexander Nevsky’s Cantata No. 7, but also discovered and became the official manager and producer for psychedelic rock band ‘The Velvet Underground’. The band rose to fame and started gathering more fans solely due to their connection with Warhol. However, when the creative direction provided by Warhol started to creep into the management of their public image, his relationship with the band gave way. Warhol’s tendencies as an artist pushed him in a different direction to what principal songwriter, singer and guitarist Lou Reed wanted the band to represent, and eventually the rift between them was too big to bridge.
Warhol defined what it was to truly be an artist in every aspect. His contributions to the world of creative arts and media are acknowledged even today, with his success echoing on in people’s continued appreciation for his craft.
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