American legend Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh in 1928, the son of Slovak immigrants. His father was a construction worker who was killed in an accident when Andy was just 13. Warhol displayed an early talent for drawing and painting. Following high school, he enrolled in Pittsburghs Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he studied commercial art. After graduating in 1949, Warhol moved to New York. Working as an illustrator for various magazines, such as Vogue and Harpars Bazaar, he soon became one of New Yorks most sought after and successful illustrators. Warhol held his first one-man exhibition at New Yorks Hugo Gallery in 1952.
In the 1960s, Warhol began creating the art that would ultimately make him famous and rank him among the most influential American artists of the twentieth century. He painted daily objects of mass production, such as Campbells Soup cans and Coke bottles, as well as silkscreen prints of famous personalities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. Warhols art conveyed the impact of media on the American civilization in a way that no artist had done before. In the 1960s, America was fast becoming a culture of television and consequently, of impacting, lasting images that affected people in ways print media never could. By using images from media and commercialism in his art, Warhol demonstrated the ways in which such imagery helps to construct our environment and identity.
Not only did Warhol depict mass products in his art, but he also wanted to mass produce his own works. To that end, he founded The Factory in 1962, an art studio where his employees mass produced his prints and posters. The Factory also served as a filmmaking studio, where Warhol made over 300 experimental underground films.
In July of 1968, Warhol narrowly survived an attempt on his life by Valerie Solanis. Solanis, who had worked at The Factory occasionally, shot Warhol multiple times in the chest, proclaiming upon her arrest that he had too much control over my life. Throughout the 1970s, Warhol continued producing art as well as expanding his entrepreneurial interests by such ventures as founding Interview magazine and opening a night club. Warhol died in February 1987 from complications of a gall bladder operation.