Monday, February 15, 2010

Andy Warhol, Starving Artist


Before multi-colored Marilyns, Studio 54, and tomato soup, Andy Warhol eked out a living drawing shoes in small New York City apartments.



In 1949, Warhol moved to New York, and started working as a commercial artist. He drew shoes, gloves, and other apparel for magazine ads in Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and Glamour. He lived with multiple roommates and in basement apartments. He was out all day looking for work and up all night drawing. He got paid per shoe he drew and would count them up to see what his paycheck would be. I think any artist who has lived in New York can relate . . .




He said, "The things I remember most about those days, aside from the long hours I spent working, are the cockroaches. Every apartment I ever stayed in was loaded with them. I'll never forget the humiliation of bringing my portfolio up to Carmel Snow's office at Harper's Bazaar and unzipping it only to have a roach crawl out and down the leg of the table. She felt so sorry for me that she gave me a job."



I like to take out my little Andy Warhol Fashion book on nights when I'm up late working on freelance. It's comforting to know that so many creatives have come to New York to work, live, and suffer, in hopes of getting their work seen, and that it's possible to go from roaches and shoe drawings to the MoMA.

And I really love how Andy drew shoes . . .






(All images from Andy Warhol Fashion, Chronicle Books, 2004)


7 comments:

Style Artisan said...

Wow, Catherine...I had no idea!

He was an amazing talent, and truth be told, I think that I like his work here the best. These images are so beautiful!

My first modeling jobs were as a model for an artist who would sketch outfits for the local department store. My, how times have changed. But these images are infinitely charming in a way that a photo could never be.

Fashionistable said...

Thank you for your story. It is inspirational. It is always great to learn something new.

Stéphanie said...

I'm jealous ! I want this book !!!

Catherine said...

Stéphanie: The book is out of print, but there are copies for sale on Alibris.com : )

Style Artisan: You're right. These drawings have a charm that fashion photography can't capture. I would love to see the drawings you posed for!

The Photodiarist said...

Cool! I did not know this!

Modelizer said...

I love old school Warhol before he was Warhol. I just love Warhol over all but thank you for these!

Diego Colan said...

amazing