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On August 6, 1928, Ondrej and Julia Zavacky Warhola gave birth to their son, Andrew Warhola, in Forest City, Pennsylvania. Ondrej and Julia came to the United States from Czechoslovakia where he worked as a construction worker. The family later moved to Pittsburgh where Andrew suffered from several nervous breakdowns throughout his teen-aged years. Overcoming this he graduated from high school and enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1949.
After graduation he lived in several Manhattan apartments and met Tina Fredericks, the art editor of Glamour Magazine. His early jobs for the magazine were several drawings. Andy drew shoes as an assignment in 1949 for an article named, “Succes is a Job in New York,” and the credit mistakenly read, “Drawings by Warhol.” Andy soon changed his surname to Warhol.
Andy’s other work included drawings for advertising in various magazines, such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazzar, book jackets, and holiday greeting cards. As his work grew so did his fame, and in 1952 his first solo exhibition was held at Hugo Gallery featuring his drawings to illustrate stories by Truman Capote. Soon he was designing sets for theatre groups, publishing his own books, and beginning to paint.
In 1960 his first paintings were based on comic strips. Using the Dick Tracy comic strip, he designed a window display for Lord and Taylor. At this time major art galleries around the world were beginning to notice his work. In 1962 his paintings of dollar bills and Campbell soup cans were included in an important exhibition of pop art, The New Realists, which was held at Sidney Janis Gallery in New York.
After three years of painting Andy dived into a new medium of work and began making his first film with his assistant Gerald Malanga. He also produced am album for the band, “The Velvet Underground and Nico.” He was working with multimedia and a show soon developed, which featured “The Velvet Underground and Nico” center stage with Andy’s films projected while colored lights of images fell over the band. Because of the publicity from the show more of Andy’s films began to be seen and shown in commercial theatres.
On June 3, 1968 Andy was shot by actress, Valerie Solnis, who appeared in Andy’s movie, “I, a man.” He survived the shooting after spending two months in the hospital.
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