Born to Slovakian immigrant parents in Pennsylvania, Andrej Varhola suffered from Sydenham's corea as a child and spent large parts of his young life confined to his bed. He passed the time by drawing, listening to the radio and collecting posters of movie stars to hang around his room. Warhol would credit these formative years as key to the development of his artistic style and skillset.
After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol started exhibiting as a fine artist in the 1950s. He was interested in the connections between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertising, and whether working in painting, film, photography or print, these are the continuing themes of his work. His art is littered with dollar bills, Campbell's Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles and contemporary stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando.
He explained his interest: 'What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too.
'A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking'.
Warhol took a casual approach to image making, allowing chance to play a role and embracing unintentional marks or mistakes. A such his art is replete with imperfection; smudges and smears can often be found.