Andy Warhol was from the beginning a man full of contradictions and surrounded by the controversy. He questions his cinematographic work, considered by many to be a pioneer and a great influence on later cinema, while others describe it as senseless, pretentious and shocking but very empty experiments. His works in painting have come to be described as a bad joke by his critics while people from all over the world buy his famous films by thousands. So is Andy Warhol a significant artist or a marketing product? I could not answer that, but in my opinion and that of many, Warhol’s true work was his own character.
After a first stage in which she worked as an illustrator of shoes and carrying out all kinds of advertising campaigns, in the sixties Warhol begins to make a name and also to create its own personage. Taking as reference the artists of the movement known as Pop-Art that had begun in England in the fifties, Andy begins to take elements of American culture, such as the famous soup cans or Coca-Cola bottles and makes them Appear in your pictures. Soon other elements like the dollar bill or actors and actresses legends of the moment are added. This is perhaps the most frivolous image of the artist, the one that has remained in the minds of all and that was best represented. But there is also another face of the painter, which he showed in paintings depicting street fights, suicides and even the electric chair, perhaps the union between this harder and darker world and pop icons that elevated him to fame.
At this point in his life, Warhol begins to create his own legend. A frivolous, even superficial character, always surrounded by musicians, actors and bohemians at parties in which alcohol, drugs and debauchery were common. It was the sixties, the time of the hippy revolution and the uprising against everything that prevailed. Warhol’s party at The Factory, his studio in New York, was practically daily, and anyone wishing to have a name in the underground world was there. Those who know Warhol say that however, he was a very religious person and that often, after long parties and bacchanals, he went to the religious services of the Byzantine Catholic Church, confession to which he belonged.
We were then with a very religious person who combined his visits to the church with his participation in what were considered the wildest parties of the time and with the filming of films rated as high sexual tension. A man who, seeing his attempts to penetrate the intellectual circles of New York frustrated, creates his own underground circle and knows how to sell it to the media as the cultural alternative. An artist who surrounds himself with other artists in symbiotic relationships in which some fed on each other.
Paladin of the gay movement and yet able to stay with Ronald Reagan himself to chat and to portray him. A man who said to paint the popular icons, but who does not hesitate to portray a very young Miguel Bose for the cover of a disc and appear in one of his video clips despite recognizing in private that he only knows that he is the son Of a bullfighter, all for a great deal of money.
Contradictory in itself and more beloved by the general public than by criticism, Warhol might have gone unnoticed if his work had not been sustained by his character, which was in my opinion and in many, the true support of his Fame along with his great ability to see the talent of others and, yes, his generosity in supporting and sponsoring his friends.