This week we are going on a trip that, in many ways, transformed Andy Warhol. I recently discussed reading The Trip: Andy Warhol’s Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure by Deborah Davis with my Newsletter Tribe. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend reading it if you are interested in Andy Warhol, art, and/or 1960’s nostalgia. The book is about the New York to California trip that Warhol made with three friends in a Ford Falcon.
The book gives you a glimpse of Warhol’s transformation into the artist. When the trip begins, Warhol is a successful commercial artist making his way into the fine art world. The reason for the trip is the exhibition of the now infamous Campbell’s soup cans Warhol painted in the 1960s. By the time the quartet returned to New York, Andy Warhol had become Andy Warhol; the brand if you will. I have always thought that Andy Warhol was a master at marketing himself. Let’s face it, he WAS his brand. I think it would be interesting to hear him explain what exactly flipped that switch when he knew what to do and who to be. What was his thought process? Was there one seminal moment when it all clicked for him? How long had he been trying on different appearances? And, how did he know this was THE one?
During the trip to Los Angeles, Warhol was seemingly beginning his own the path to celebrity. Ultimately, Warhol, with his iconic silver wig, became as recognized as any of the celebrities he depicted. Ironic don’t you think? Or was it planned?
It was also during this trip that Warhol experimented in earnest with film making using his 16mm Bolex camera. Films became another tool in his art repertoire. He used the medium to capture the shocking to the mundane to the quirky in life as it was happening.
Soon after his return to New York, Warhol relocated, and in many ways, reinvented his studio as well as himself. The studio became known as the “Factory”. The notorious Factory became a hot bed of ideas and creativity as the hang out for creatives. Many of the regular visitors to the Factory were often cast in Warhol’s films. The Factory also became known as the Silver Factory due to the silver walls. Maybe it was also a nod to the silver screen Warhol was so enamored with all his life, as well as his film making.
Now it is your turn. Do you have a favorite Andy Warhol image or story? Please leave a comment and share it with me.
(Sources: The Trip: Andy Warhol’s Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure by Deborah Davis, The Andy Warhol Museum)