Very few are the artists that achieved in life the recognition and admiration of the ordinary citizen such as Andy Warhol did. This made him think that everyone would have his or her 15 minutes of fame. This way he foretold the social repercussions of the media and in particular, the tabloids.
In 1949 Warhol moved to New York where he worked as an illustrator and publicist, making his designs mark a starting point to create a particular style directly linked to the conception of a new movement, the pop art. Since his early years of career Warhol showed a great admiration for the movie stars.
Very soon he made out his great understanding of star’s worship, and he made it through his behaviour in the social circles he frequented, a shy man whose appearance and introduction to the public was quickly associated with the pop movement.
Many were the celebrities that drew Warhol's attention but, without a doubt, the most relevant and captured in his work was Marilyn Monroe. She was chosen by the artist as his model when she had passed away and so contributing to make her posthumous fame greater than it already was in life, and giving rise to a forever myth.
It is undeniable the sexual attractiveness of the actress and sure it was one of the aspects that caught Andy Warhol's attention. But maybe the final element was the legend around her. The alleged physical abuse suffered by the actress in her childhood added to her premature and unexpected death at 36 may have made a special interest in the artist to immortalize and mythologize Norma Jean, aka Marilyn Monroe.
Other Warhol idols, also captured in his works, such as Elvis Presley or Elisabeth Taylor were also caught up in an aura of tragedy. Presley, from being a truck driver who sang to a generation's idol, suffered frequent depressions or Liz Taylor, from a spoiled kid to one of the best paid actresses of her time, had serious health troubles all her life. Even Marlyn Monroe herself came up to be desperate to break up with the stereotype of the sex symbol she was and begged for roles where she could show her value as an actress that never were given to her due to her physical appearance.
Andy Warhol, victim of a difficult childhood marked by illness, probably felt identified with these celebrities who played a main role in his creations during the 60's.
Check out our Andy Warhol prints by Sunday B. Morning.