American artist Andy Warhol was born on the 6th of August, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warhol’s parents were working-class immigrants from what is now Slovakia. The family was Ruthenian Catholic which had a profound effect on Warhol’s childhood. Warhol was ill from an early age and developed Sydenham’s chorea while he was in the third grade, a disorder which causes involuntary movements of the extremities. There were many times in Warhol’s childhood when he was bedridden and he spent much of this time listening to the radio and collecting pictures of celebrities which he spread around his bed. Warhol later described this as an important part of his development, particularly of his personality, preferences, and skills.
Warhol graduated from Schenley High School in 1945 before going on to win a Scholastic Art and Writing Award. After graduating, his main ambition was to gain an education in art by studying at the University of Pittsburgh, eventually hoping to become an art teacher. Ultimately, this plan fell through when Warhol instead began studying commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. It was during his time there that he first gained exposure to modern art when he joined the Modern Dance Club and Beaux Arts Society that were active on campus. He also joined the student art magazine, Cano, where he served as an art director for the magazine. He also illustrated a cover for the magazine in 1948 as well as an interior illustration in 1949. It has been speculated that these were the first works of art of Warhol’s that were ever published. After graduating from college, Warhol moved to New York City to begin a career in illustration and advertising for magazines.
Warhol’s early career was almost exclusively dedicated to advertisement art for commercial companies, with some of his earliest commissions coming from Glamour magazine in the late 1940s. Warhol’s art began to become sought after and he began to design shoes for show manufacturer Israel Miller. Although his artwork took on a slightly more surreal look than many of the shoes themselves would end up with, his designs nevertheless remained technically accurate in the correct places. The designs that Warhol drew remain popular today and regularly feature in art courses as examples of technical ink drawings.
Warhol became one of the earliest adopters of using silk screens in the printmaking process for producing paintings. He was taught the technique by Max Arthur Cohn in Manhattan. Warhol also developed a technique known as the “blotted line”, a process that involves applying ink to paper and blotting it while still wet. The process is similar in methodology to the printmaking process in many ways, albeit far more rudimentary.