Lesson 2 Andy Warhol

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    Up until the moment of this assignment I had no favorite artist, I had no favorite photographer. My eyes were never opened to the possibility that I could even have a favorite. After much searching through books, the Internet, my own wife’s art and basically anywhere I could see an image, I found my favorite. Andy Warhol, as a surprise to even me, has always been a favorite.

    I was initially attracted to his works and his life through music. Lou Reed sang about Andy and the story was so interesting that it led me to look at his artwork. It is not surprising that I already knew of his work because it was so popular. Now the hard part, I had to look deep inside myself as to why I was attracted to this type of art. This was not a natural response to me, but rather, a necessity to complete this assignment.

    The more I looked in the more I questioned the artwork and myself, it became very clear why I was interested in Andy Warhol’s work. Not only did he have technical artistic abilities, especially with his earlier work, but he presented it in a way up till then, that no one else had. While there are many iconic images that we all know, the two that I will focus on are the caricatures of Marilyn Monroe and Chairman Mao. At first blush the colors are what is so striking. As I gaze at the artwork the colors fade and the technology begins to shine. The use of multiple techniques gives me the chance to see something in a way we don’t see it in real life. Multiple colors and multiple images start to mesmerize me, but then I start to question… Is this a drawing, is this a photograph, is this some sort of multimedia, is this a simple exercise in tracing? The answer becomes clear, the answer is yes to all of the questions. Andy Warhol did not limit himself or his mind to a linear way of presenting what he wanted me to see. He was one of the rare few that was a jack of all trades, yet a master at the same time. I can only imagine the artistic freedom that happened at “the factory”. When Warhol looked at Marilyn Monroe, whether through movies, pictures or in real life, he saw her in a different way than the rest of us. Up until then I doubt Chairman Mao was depicted in any way other than a simple realistic photograph or drawing. Why would we ever stop and look at his picture other than for news reasons? And he made me stop and not see a person, but to see art. Anyone that can get me to stop and see past the reality has to be a genius.

    This gives me hope. Since there are no rules (according to Andy), I can succeed! I now truly believe that I can look at something out there in the world and photograph it, and I may be finished. What is more exciting to me, is that I can continue on as far as I choose. If only Andy had the tools that are currently at my disposal. He basically invented Photoshop without a computer. I look forward to seeing what I can create out of the interesting and mundane in the world. While I love a beautiful landscape, or natural beauty, I am also starting to see the beauty in something as simple as a can of soup. I am only limited by my lack of risk. I hope to go past those limits.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hey John!

    You’ve written a great piece here. I’m glad that you’ve made the effort to really find someone that inspires you. Beyond that you even looked at why his work inspires you.

    I’m not sure if it’s sad, fascinating, or a reflection that we now have tools that will “andy warhol” your photograph:


    Whatever the case I agree that you should never limit your work to one medium or style.

    These days we have the technology to produce really anything we can think of. I’m not just talking about photography either.

    You can now create 3d objects in your computer, send them over the internet, and have them printed out as real objects!!!


    Think about that for a minute. Now anything you can dream up can be “printed” out. Soon this will be on our respective desktops…

    So yes, the possibilities are endless!!

    That said it never hurts to learn the “rules” and the technical side of things, if only so that you can break them for a reason later on. Stuff like the golden ratio and good composition across all artwork.

    For anyone reading this later you can learn more about Warhol here:


    Thanks for creating a good piece.

    I look forward to seeing you explore the endless creative possibilities with inspiration from Warhol.


    See you on the next assignment.

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