The name Andy Warhol has become synonymous with Pop art, a style of art that emerged in Britain and America in the mid 1950s and culminated in the 1960s. Pop art took its inspiration from popular culture. Warhol’s iconic Pop Art works include images of consumer goods such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles, and portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe based on media photographs.
Although Warhol was fascinated with celebrity, and became a celebrity himself, he remained a private and mysterious person. These contradictions are evident in his Self-portrait no. 9, 1986. This is one of a series of self-portraits the artist made in 1986 using a photograph of himself wearing a distinctive wig. The size of this work and the strong visual contrast between the face and the background clearly focus attention on the artist’s face. However, the fluorescent camouflage pattern has a concealing effect. Disembodied from the dark background, the face appears mask-like and haunting.
Look at the related work and use the following discussion prompts to explore Andy Warhol’s approach to self-portraiture:
Andy Warhol was inspired by consumer culture and mass production, and often produced multiple versions of the same artwork. For Andy, art itself was a product. He was not very concerned with depicting the subjects of his portraits realistically. Instead, he used bright, bold colour to produce portraits that captured the attention of viewers in the same way advertisements did.
Students design and create their artwork through the following steps:
Students show their self-portrait to a partner and explain: