A few months ago I had, at best, only heard of Andy Warhol from time to time and even at that, it seemed to always be with regard to some rather strange or alien form of so-called art being aired in some matter of media. And then this past July Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles published a post which addressed a few unbelievable, if not outrageous, prices being paid for some particular pieces of art. Nothing however that I had not been exposed to before, with the exception of one item in particular. A rather simple drawing/painting of a Campbells soup can which had been rendered on paper as all but destroyed. It sold for almost a measly 11.8 million dollars at an auction held by Christie’s in New York City. And the artist….? Well it was the infamous, if not notorious by some opinions, Andy Warhol.
And what of the piece of art that all the fuss is about….here you go!
(Selling Price – $11,776,000)
Very quickly….here are a couple of links regarding the auction and subsequent sale that will bring you up to speed on this matter if you have any interest.
Art Auction Catalogue Excerpts: “Christie’s Contemporary Art Auction of May 9, 2006”
Bloomburg Cultural News and Commentary: “Eli Broad Buys Warhol ‘Soup Can’ in 143 Million Christie’s Auction”
Continuing…..it took at least a few days for me to render myself to a reasonable conscious state after dealing with the shock of such a price….for such a piece of art. But the more I kept looking at this apparently ridiculous artistic impression, the more and more intrigued I became. And then I began reading and researching more and more on the life and times of Mr. Warhol. After all….he was the cause of this agony I was putting myself through.
It was during this research and subsequent self-imposed contemplative thinking that I began to have deep concern as to why Andy chose the Campbells soup can as his subject. I mean if I were going to pick some innocent can to paint why not the infamous “SPAM can”. Nothing has taken such abuse over the years as has the American delicacy of Spam. But then as I proceeded through the educational process of getting to know more about Andy I found that his endeavors were actually directed toward something he was endeared to in a sense. He actually really liked Campbells soup and often ate it for lunch as a child. He did many varying renditions of this favorite subject of his.
By this time, and I can not under any reason of logic tell you why, I had been totally captivated by this whole thing. It began to remind me of that scene from “As Good As It Gets” where Jack Nicholson’s gay neighbor has returned from the hospital from his injuries suffered in his apartment robbery and Jack has to return the little dog whom he had been forced to watch after and at one point he hated and now he is totally in love with. As he sits at his piano and softly plays the keys tears begin to swell in his eyes from the loss of his little canine friend and he utters those famous words with a subdued grimace among the tears….”I don’t even like dogs”!
Holy soup cans Batman….I had been transformed and could actually relate to this form of art and the paintings and drawings of Andy Warhol. In fact, thoughts began to race through my mind that if I were indeed a wealthy man, would I have actually tried to out bid the billionaire who actually purchased this painting. Seriously, I am now thinking I might have given it a go.
I had become determined to somehow put forth a rendition now of a Spam Can by the fire within started by Mr. Warhol. But I can not paint but wait….I do have some measure of abilities when it comes to creating artistic graphics. But first I need a reasonably good camera to supply a base for my project. I do want to do justice to my inspiration. And as many of you know, I did purchase a new camera. What you had no way of knowing was the specific reason behind that decision. Yes, I know this is perhaps the point where you think I am expecting you to chuckle perhaps and then me tell you I was only joking but I kid you not. The primary reason behind the purchase of the camera was to do the Spam Can. Actually, it is now going to be a “Spam Can Series” but that will all come later as my project proceeds.
In between other photographic endeavors that I have previously subjected my visitors to, I have been totally obsessed to a degree with my new passion. And yes, passion would adequately describe my feelings. First, I wanted to try and capture my impression of Andy’s favorite subject so the following is my completed impression of my Campbells soup can I have simply titled “The Chicken Noodle Doodle”.
(Click to Enlarge)
(Click to Enlarge)Secondly, I wanted to do a soup can impression that I would hope would in some manner please the artistic nature of Mr. Warhol. This one is titled “My Andy Warhol Tribute”.
(Click to Enlarge)
And then of course there comes the infamous ‘Spam Can’ impression. So below is the first in what I hope is an extended series of Spam cans. This one is simply titled “The Spam Can”.
(Click to Enlarge)
I have continued to expand my realm of interest and applications to include cars and houses. The photo below shows some completed prints ready to pack, crate and ship to New York City at a moments notification should Christie’s ever call. That is assuming that you think I continue to jest. As to the seriousness of all this….I leave it to you to decide.
Click to Enlarge)
There you have it. There is a new passion in my life – for better or worse. So for my frequent visitors, your greatest fear should be that if I disappear from my blog for days on end that I have embarked on yet another project which in the end will probably return to these pages to punish you for your daring to return for a visit.
Some final words in closing…..I wrote Cowtown Pattie a personal email informing her last week that I was about to use her name in vain on my blog but one of the things I said to her with regard to the subject matter that I would like to share is the following:
“I suppose this may all sound a bit strange but we never know what affect, either directly or indirectly, little unassuming things we do or say on our blogs may inspire in others. In the end I surely won’t be seeing any of my artistic endeavors being offered at Christies but my life has been more fulfilled, enjoyable and fun since then for whatever reason.”
So Pattie… Thank you for your inspirational posts on your blog. And if and when I have my first show and sell my first Spam Can print for some large sum of money which is surely inevitable, please know that I do not forget those like yourself who have been so inspirational in my life. Immediately after said sale and auction I will be sending you and your entire family free tickets to “Six Flags Over Texas”. That’s right….you can believe it! I don’t kid about things like this. Especially if my “Spam Can” sells for $11.8 million.
For more links and information on Andy Warhol check out the following if interested:
Wikipedia: “Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans”
With regard to the following links the associated audio is very insightful biographically speaking….
National Public Radio: “Warhol Signed Soup Can – Art or Memento?”
National Public Radio: “I Bought Andy Warhol”
National Public Radio: “A Warhol Retrospective”
National Public Radio: “Illustrator and Writer James Warhola”