The most splendid thing about art is that it is not bound by any rules. It expands into a vastness that can only be compared to and tamed by the human mind. Famous artists around the globe throughout history have drawn inspiration for their art from the most unlikely of the sources.
But few come close to the particular inclination of the world-famous pop artist and illustrationist Andy Warhol towards food. Warhol was a legendary figure in the visual art movement that caught hype in the mid 20th century. As a commercial illustrator, his work explored the relationship between artistic expression, ads, and celebrity culture.
He worked on several art forms ranging from sculptures, silkscreening, paintings, photographs, and even films. But even with such variety in his work, there had been one common thread that joined most of his artworks together- his love for food. In this article, we’ll have a peek into the artist’s fascination with various food items and how it influenced his work.
Campbell’s Soup Cans
One of the most talked-about works of Andy Warhol is his paintings featuring Campbell Soup Cans. Warhol mounted the canvas featuring 32 Campbell soup cans, one for each flavor the company sold, in his first solo show in 1962.
Warhol’s fascination with soup went way beyond the aesthetics of the can; he called it the ‘Food of Life’. His soup canvas got instantly popular because of its seemingly ‘ordinary’ yet eye-catching nature. Many critics called it the beginning of the Pop Art Movement that featured art which people and media loved to share.
Some art-enthusiasts also believe that the color scheme used and the style he adopted could also be an artistic expression for his apprehension of nuclear weapons. Interestingly, Warhol shares his birthday with the infamous Hiroshima attacks, which marked the beginning of the nuclear age.
Another common delicacy of Andy’s life was cornflakes in his breakfast menu. Andy designed an elusive cornflakes package for Kellogg’s that was loved by many. Cornflakes boxes were also part of his famous show at New York city stable gallery in 1964.
These were not actual cartons but wooden boxes painted with designs and logos by Warhol and his assistant. It was one of the first few artworks dedicated to mass-produced commercial goods designed for advertising purposes.
Serendipity’s Frozen Hot Chocolate
Andy loved spending his time in the Serendipity 3 restaurant and devouring their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate during lunch hours. The artist went on to spend about $2000 on this sweet torment of his life in the year 1967 alone.
Andy was always drawn towards the contrast and the contradiction between what is and what seems to be. Many of his works portrayed the irony of life while drawing inspiration from the ordinary, like the frozen ‘hot’ chocolate, per se.
The Velvet Underground Banana
In1967, Andy designed the famous but controversial cover of the Velvet Underground band which featured an erect pink banana that could be peeled back. It’s not specifically related to his love for the fruit but bears great significance to the pop art movement in the 1960s.
The reason why this cover was so iconic was the fact that it celebrated a new era of public reproduction of sexually charged imagery. It became one among many mass-produced images inspired by pop culture flourishing in Andy’s time.
Food, according to Andy, connects humans despite their differences, just like art. Rich or poor, young or old, men or women- food tastes the same to all. His thoughts on the matter reflect in his popular illustration of a glass coke bottle.
He drew a 6 feet tall coke bottle which was later bought by an anonymous buyer in 2013 for $57.3 million. The reason he gave behind this artwork was that “everyone drank coke- the President, Liz Taylor, and you too- from the same glass bottle”.
The Burger King Hamburger
Andy’s insistence on adding the ‘extra’ with ordinary led him to feature in a 5-minute long Burger King Ad video. What’s remarkable about it, you may ask. Well, nothing except for the fact that one is surprisingly and utterly captivated by this plain video of him eating a hamburger.
The video concludes with Andy saying, “I am Andy Warhol, and I just ate a hamburger”. Burger King capitalized well upon the curiosity surrounding the video and ran successful campaigns with the tagline “Eat Like Andy”.
Andy Warhol’s remarkable lifelong journey with art is fascinating, mainly to his ability to find beauty in the mundane. His zeal to create art that the masses could relate with, instead of just a handful of art connoisseurs, was laudable.
Though not every great artist may “Eat like Andy Warhol”, many have drawn inspiration from ordinary elements of everyday life. Be it scentless flowers, vivid vases, or plain blue curtains; artists look beyond the ordinary.
If you’re drawn to pop art or want to explore the endless ocean of artistic creativity, getting a fine reproduction of one of your favorite pieces will be a great choice. And there’s no better place to find the best artists that can recreate the magic of originals other than 1st-Art-Gallery. After all, art only entices those who dare to come close enough!