Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928 as Andrew Warhola. He was the youngest of three sons of immigrants from present-day Eastern Slovakia. During elementary school, Warhol took art classes at Carnegie Institute (now the Carnegie Museum of Art), and later in his life, with the support of his father, he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) studying pictorial design. Upon graduating, he worked as a commercial illustrator with his first success being an illustrated article in Glamour magazine entitled, "What is Success?" His successful career as an illustrator fueled his early artistic ventures, which consisted primarily of illustrations and self-published books.
In the 1960s, Warhol became involved in the pop art movement in New York City. During this time, he produced some of his most iconic works, including the photographic silkscreen celebrity portraits and the Death and Disaster paintings. In 1964, Warhol established his Silver Factory, a hub of artistic experimentation fueled by drugs, music, sex, and art. Here, Warhol produced hundreds of screen tests, photographs, and films. He later relocated to Union Square West where he was shot by Valerie Solanas, leaving Warhol emotionally and physically scarred and altering his experimental art style.
Warhol was obsessed with recording everything and mass production. He is famously quoted as saying, "I want to be a machine." This led to his compulsive recording and photographing. He received his first camera when he was eight years old, and over his lifetime, he created over 66,000 photographs. His work with Polaroids was prevalent in the 1970s. He documented his everyday life as well as special occasions. He was fascinated with Hollywood and celebrity, and he always wanted to be surrounded by the famous. His celebrity Polaroids series was one way Warhol stayed engaged in the celebrity scene. He also used these portraits as source material for his silkscreen prints and later his paintings when he returned to traditional painting in the 1980s. Warhol passed away in 1987 due to complications from surgery.