Bold. Flashy. Eccentric. That’s three words to describe the cult legend of Andy Warhol. The father figure of pop art is famous for capturing humanity’s obsession with celebrity culture and advertising in his experimental film, painting and sculpture.
But like his art, the flashy, grey-haired provocateur had a complex backstory behind his eccentric lifestyle. In fact, his life is full of intriguing anecdotes and unusual quirks. Did you know these 10 facts about Andy Warhol?
1. He was a devote Catholic…
Although we associated Warhol with his provocative art and subversive entourage, he grew up as a practicing Ruthenian Catholic. His parents immigrated to the US from Slovakia and brought their religious beliefs with them. As an adult, the famous artist continued to practice his religion, attending mass at Manhattan’s Upper East Side most days.
The iconic painter wore a crucifix necklace, carried a rosary and was a regular volunteer at the church-lead soup kitchen in his neighbourhood.
2. …And a mummy’s boy
Julia Warhola was her son’s closest companion. They lived and worked together for almost two decades and the artist’s mother even appeared in his film Mrs. Warhol.
She also helped him out by providing lettering for many of his projects. Warhol’s father, Andrej, died when the artist was just 13 years old.
3. He moonlighted as the Velvet Underground’s band manager
The American rock band fronted by Lou Reed and famous for being one of the most influential groups on rock, underground and experimental music were briefly managed by Warhol.
In 1965, after being introduced to the band, Warhol became their manager. He hlped the band secure a recording contract with MGM’s Verve Records and acted as a producer.
During this career diversion, Warhol included the Velvet Underground is his multimedia roadshow Exploding plastic Inevitable, which combined Warhol’s films with the band’s music.
4. He wore wigs to cover up a balding scalp
Warhol began to go bald in his early 20s and took to wearing wigs to obscure his hair loss. His silver wigs became iconic, contributing to his image as a mad-hat artist and provocateur.
One of his most famous pieces, a series of self-portraits called Fright Wig, utilised his fake hair to create a now legendary image.
5. He once published a cookbook
Wild Raspberries, created by the artist and his friend Suzie Frankfurt, was a parody of pretentious French-style cook books. Published in 1959, the book included 19 illustrations and a number of recipes mocking traditional haute cuisine.
Dishes included Omelet Greta Garbo (‘to be eaten alone’) and Roast Iguana Andalusian.
6. He designed an album cover that was nominated for a Grammy Award
Warhol worked as a freelance commercial artist for companies including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, The New Yorker and Columbia Records in the 1950s and 1960s.
He created cover art for a number of iconic bands and performers including the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. The 1971 cover for the Rolling Stone’s Sticky Fingers album was nominated for a Grammy Award for best Album Cover.
He didn’t win though – the accolade went to a band called Pollution.
7. He trained as a classical artist
It’s hard to believe that the iconic and subversive artist ever created anything we could define as ‘traditional art’, but Warhol actually studied at the Carnegie Institute for Technology where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1949.
During his student years, he faced some opposition from professors who didn’t wholly approve of his unique approach and he sometimes had to do additional coursework over the summer to retain a good academic standing.
After a world trip, in which he travelled to places such as Japan, India, Italy and Egypt, he began to visualise ambitions beyond commercial art and moved towards what we now would call ‘Warhol’ style work.
8. He collected taxidermy
The artist owned a number of stuffed animals, including a lion, a peacock, a penguin, a moose’s head and a Great Dane, called Cecil. Warhol bought the dog for $300 in the late 60s, and the stuffed canine stood guard outside his studio from 1969 to 1987.
The iconic artist had a soft spot for dogs – he also owned a (live) dachshund called Archie and often spent time in the company of fellow artist and actress Brigid Berlin’s pugs.
9. Someone once tried to kill him
On June 3, 1968 a radical feminist called Valeria Jean Solanas entered Warhol’s workspace, the Factory, and shot him.
She had previously been in one of Warhol’s films, I, A Man and, due to poor mental health, grew paranoid about her work and who she had been working with.
After the attack, Valeria handed herself in and was treated for paranoid Schizophrenia. Warhol suffered from damage to his lungs, oesophagus, spleen, liver and stomach but recovered after an extended stay in a New York hospital. He had to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life.
10. You can stay in an Andy Warhol-inspired hotel suite…
At the Arthouse Hotel, we’ve been inspired by the artistic efforts of Warhol to create interiors that replicate his eccentric designs. Some of our most popular suites celebrate his iconic artwork.
From the opulent Marilyn Monroe suite, to the seductive Lips, you can enjoy the visual artistry of Warhol’s most famous pieces while indulging in the luxurious amenities on offer. Whether you’re a Chelsea Girl or looking for your 15 minutes of fame, we’ve got the perfect room for your stay.
Sleeping up to six guests, all our Warhol suites come equipped with ultra-comfortable beds, large flat-screen TV and a Bluetooth multimedia sound system. They’ve also all got opulent bathrooms with double whirlpool baths and waterfall showers.
Arthouse Hotel is ideally located, giving guests access to the best nightlife, shopping and dining venues in the city, guaranteeing a visit to Liverpool you’ll never forget.
To book, call our team on 0151 395 7900.