Celebrating 50 years of Andy Warhol

Enduring and powerful art stems from innovate ideas and the confidence to step outside of the square. American artist, Andy Warhol is one of the most well known pop artists of all time, however there was a period in his life when inspiration was hard to come by, even for him.

By the beginning of the 1960s, like many talented artists, Warhol's creativity had led him down the commercial route. He was becoming exceedingly well known for his elegant drawings of popular brands including ‘I Miller’ shoes, however his creative pursuits were going largely unnoticed.

It wasn't long before he realised that the commercial work was overtaking his creativity and he would soon lose the respect he deserved as a serious artist. Up until November 1961 the artist, who would soon become known as the 'Pope of Pop', was famous for paintings which were taken from cartoons and advertisements.

In despair, he spoke with his friends about how he could hone in on his artistic abilities and truly showcase to the world what he could create. His friends suggested that he portray what he loved the most, however it wasn't until he got talking to gallerist Muriel Latow, that he came up with the idea of painting the famous Campbell's soup can (Warhol is said to have enjoyed a bowl of Campbell's soup every lunch for most of his life).

On November 23, 1961 Warhol wrote Latow a check for $50 (more than $300 in today's terms) which, it is said, was payment for coming up with the idea. For his first major exhibition Warhol painted his famous cans of Campbell's Soup. The work sold for $10,000 at an auction on November 17, 1971, at Sotheby's New York.

From there he would go on to create the equally famous Marilyn Diptych, a silkscreen painting which would become referred to as the third most influential piece of modern art by The Guardian newspaper.

Imitating art

In memory of this outstanding work, the team at elocal decided to participate in a pop-art inspired photo shoot for this year's fashion-focused magazine spread.

Franklin photographer Yvonne Walker originally began studying to become a graphic designer, but similar to Andy Warhol, she soon realised that the life of a graphic artist could quickly become more about meeting deadlines than enjoying art for art's sake. Although she was truly inspired by the graphic and design medium, she soon made the decision to change her plans and began to study photography instead.

Having studied pop art at University, Yvonne knew that the shoot would need to be outrageous and animated to keep with the vibrant colours and comic feel of the genre.

"Right from the beginning, we were all on the same page and the elocal cover girls worked hard to give me the animated look that we needed to develop the style".

Yvonne worked alongside Kerryn Chaplin, owner of Diosa Hair, who complemented the photo shoot with a vibrant colour palette and some outrageous coloured wigs. "It is great to be able to get the creative juices flowing and do something that we would not normally do in our everyday salon work."

Like Yvonne, Kerryn was inspired by Andy Warhol's vibrant art when she decided how the models would be presented to the camera. "I am a huge fan of colour and I just love the confidence he showed in doing something a bit different to the norm."

"This was definitely not your normal make over and something that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. The eye colour was very bold, I used a highly pigmented colour on top of a white base to really make it stand out, and I created a super smooth matt base over the face with strong contours and of course a beautiful bold lip."

For Yvonne, who specialises in photographing women and portraiture (which includes babies and families), this was the opportunity to really step outside of the square and enjoy the zany 1960s art that truly inspired the art world and still does today.

For the models, who were made up of finalists from this year's cover girl awards, this was an opportunity to truly step outside of the square and vamp it up for the camera. "The girls did a great job and the photo shoot came out so well," laughs Yvonne.

The photographs were shot at Yvonne's studio on Tuakau Road and everything from lighting to the post production work was taken care of by Yvonne, while the colour decisions, makeup and hair was organised by Kerryn who has years of experience when it comes to assisting Franklin women in looking and feeling beautiful. "Although this was not your normal photo shoot, we definitely had a great time."

In The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again), the artist claims that everyone can be beautiful at some time in their lives "When a person is the beauty of their day, and their looks are really in style, and then the times change and tastes change, and ten years go by, if they keep exactly their same look and don't change anything and if they take care of themselves, they'll still be a beauty."

Over fifty years later, elocal believes in honouring the timeless classics and we like to think that Andy Warhol would have given us the seal of approval!