“Warhol’s rebellious spirit and attraction to the non-conformists led him to Southern California in 1968 where he spent two weeks filming surfers as part of his underground film, San Diego Surf. The Foundation is proud to collaborate with Billabong to celebrate individuals who refuse to be defined by convention.”
– The Andy Warhol Foundation
The Andy Warhol Foundation passed along the following stories behind some of Warhol’s most iconic pieces that are included in the WarholSurf Collection by Billabong.
Warhol’s Skull Series:
“In August 1962, Andy Warhol began to generate the imagery for his paintings from photographs transferred onto silk screens. Commenting on the fragility of life, Warhol said, “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”
For the Skulls series of works in 1976, Warhol had his assistant photograph a skull Warhol bought in Paris while doing his favorite activity, antique shopping.
In 1978, for his fiftieth birthday, Warhol painted self-portraits with a skull close to his head (either balanced on his shoulder, or on his head). The personal association with death, and perhaps a private readiness for it, became obvious in this instance.”Warhol himself said “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘Figment’.” This famous portrait series is part of VolumeII of the WarholSurf Collection.
“Andy Warhol was interested in repetition as it appeared in the world as well as in his photography, silk-screens and sculpture. He created images of the same subject matter multiple times and he often replicated that subject several times on a single work of art. He took photographs of replication that he saw existed in the world and created it where it didn’t, for example he stitched identical photographs together to produce one image. When he created self-portraits he frequently represented himself several times on the one canvas. Warhol once said: “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”
“Throughout Andy Warhol’s career he often returned to subjects that interested him. In the 1950’s while working as a commercial illustrator he created several delicate works of flowers. In the 1960’s he created his most famous flowers series these all over colorful compositions were exhibited in various orientations and the silkscreen process flattened the subjects to create a beautiful painting that is integrally abstract. In the 1980’s he created a proposal for the exterior of the Tacoma Dome of flowers and after liking this images so much he created a series of screen-prints of Daisies.
In the early sixties, Warhol created many works depicting consumer products, Hollywood starlets and a highly publicized series depicting death and disaster in American society, and so with the Flowers series, Warhol turned to the most decorative and abstract subject from this period. These all over colorful compositions were exhibited in various orientations and the silkscreen process flattened the subjects to create a beautiful painting that is integrally abstract.”
“Andy Warhol’s interest in photography was important throughout his career. Although better known for his paintings, prints, sculptures, and film, it is photography that is the primary mode of image making in most of Warhol’s works. Warhol began to use photography first as a reference and later as his art. As a commercial artist in the 1950s Warhol began using photographs as sources for his drawings. Beginning in 1962 Warhol’s practice incorporated photo mechanical screen printing to manipulate images from American popular culture including newspaper headlines, Life magazine features, and movie star glossies. Warhol also used photo booth machines and Polaroid cameras for commissioned portraits. Warhol also frequently photographed celebrities and friends in the art, entertainment, and fashion worlds. Many of these were later published in his books Andy Warhol’s Exposures (1979) and Andy Warhol’s Party Book (1988). From 1976 until his death in 1987 Warhol shots several roles of film a week. Warhol said: “A picture means I know here I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”
Andy Warhol made a brief guest appearance on The Love Boat in 1985. One subplot of that episode was that Warhol would select a lucky passenger to sit for one of his famous portraits. The artist was shown photographing bathing beauties with his Polaroid camera. In the opening titles for his 1979–80 Manhattan Cable Television series, Andy Warhol said the title of the program, “Fashion.” Camera in hand, he then seemingly proceeded to take a Polaroid of us television viewers. In October of 1985, Warhol was even featured on the cover of American Photographer, where he was depicted flashing one of his small automatic cameras, an Olympus/Zuiko AF. This issue contained a six-page interview with Warhol about his photographic pursuits.
‘I told them I didn’t believe in art, that I believed in photography.’”