Andy Warhol was one of the most eccentric and controversial artists of his time. His lifestyle and art were unconventional and he broke all through rules of traditional art with his Pop art creations. Today we will learn about the icon in the words of the man who knows him most – himself! This article will contain the best selection of Andy Warhol quotes about making art and his views on life.
Table of Contents
Andy Warhol Quotes on Art and Life
Andy Warhol, born in 1928 to a working-class family, is undoubtedly one of the most well-known names in contemporary art. There were many aspects to Andy Warhol: a social butterfly, a Pop Art icon, and a clever filmmaker, to mention only a few. In addition to his gifted visual creativity, Warhol possessed natural charisma.
As intellectual as he was creative, these Andy Warhol quotes on art and life are often humorous as well as insightful.
Andy Warhol Quotes About Making Art
In a period of immense social, political, and technical shifts, Andy Warhol reimagined what art might be. His unique counter-culture mindset is as popular today as it was six decades ago. Here are some famous Andy Warhol quotes about making art.
“Art is anything you can get away with.”
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
“I’m for mechanical art. When I took up silk screening, it was to more fully exploit the preconceived image through the commercial techniques of multiple reproductions.”
“I’ll bet there are a lot of artists that nobody hears about who just make more money than anybody. The people that do all the sculptures and paintings for big building construction. We never hear about them, but they make more money than anybody.”
“When I did my self-portrait, I left all the pimples out because you always should. Pimples are a temporary condition and they don’t have anything to do with what you really look like. Always omit the blemishes – they’re not part of the good picture you want.”
“An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he – for some reason – thinks it would be a good idea to give them.”
“Business art is the step that comes after art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist. Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. During the hippie era, people put down the idea of business. They’d say “money is bad” and “working is bad”. But making money is art, and working is art – and good business is the best art.”
“Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
An Andy Warhol gallery at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. In the background, the portrait of Mao Zedong (1973) by Andy Warhol is on display; dalbera from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Once you ‘got’ Pop, you could never see a sign again the same way again. And once you thought Pop, you could never see America the same way again.”
“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”
“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.”
“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
Andy Warhol Quotes About Life
So, we have read through the essential Andy Warhol quotes about making art, but what were his thoughts about the rest of his life? Did he think about death often? As we shall see from his quotes, the concepts of life and death intrigued him. And he wrote about time often in his autobiography. He also believed that one day everyone would get a moment in the spotlight – albeit a short one. Let’s see how the famous artist viewed life in general.
Portrait of the American artist Andy Warhol at his exhibition dedicated to Black transgender people in the US, 1975; Unknown (Mondadori Publishers), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
“It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor’s finger.”
“The idea is not to live forever; it is to create something that will.”
“Sometimes, people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, so what. That is one of my favorite things to say. So what?”
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look at how you feel about it.”
I think kids should go to high school until they’re 30. No, really, because people are staying younger now and there’s nothing to do. If you stayed longer, then it would be really great.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
“What’s great about this country is 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 can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, 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. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”
“When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.”
Photograph of the American artist Andy Warhol in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, before the opening of his retrospective exhibition, 1968. His Brillo Boxes are in the background; Lasse Olsson / Pressens bild, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“I can never get over when you’re on the beach how beautiful the sand looks and the water washes it away and straightens it up and the trees and the grass all look great. I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”
“I like to be the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place. Being the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place is worth it because something interesting always happens.”
“I never understood why when you died, you didn’t just vanish, everything should just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn’t be there. 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’.”
“Those who talk about individuality the most are the ones who most object to deviation, and in a few years, it may be the other way around. Someday everybody will just think what they want to think, and then everybody will probably be thinking alike; that seems to be what is happening.”
Farah Pahlavi and Andy Warhol in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 1977; Farah Pahlavi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“So today if you see a person who looks like your teenage fantasy walking down the street, it’s probably not your fantasy, but someone who had the same fantasy as you and decided instead of getting it or being it, to look like it, and so he went to the store and bought the look that you both like. So forget it. Just think about all the James Deans and what it means.”
“People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.”
Andy Warhol Quotes on Movies
Andy Warhol was not just an artist, he also made films, and as you would expect, they are as weird as his Pop artworks. Cinema seems to have been a big part of his life as he spoke about its effect on him and society quite often. Let’s check out some of his thoughts on movies.
“Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television.”
“Now and then, someone would accuse me of being evil – of letting people destroy themselves while I watched, just so I could film them and tape-record them. But I didn’t think of myself as evil – just realistic.”
Andy Warhol Museum of the Modern Art in Medzilaborce, Slovakia; P.matel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“It’s the movies that have been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.”
“People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually, it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like you’re watching television — you don’t feel anything.”
Andy Warhol was not only known for his works that depicted everyday products, but also for his silkscreens of famous celebrities. He was also known for his very unique style of dressing and loved to try different styles and create self-portraits. Yet, there was a deeper side to him as well as can be observed from his quotes. The above Andy Warhol quotes about making art and life, in general, reveal a man that thought deeply about life, death, and his art.
Take a look at our Andy Warhol quotes webstory here!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Was Andy Warhol?
Even if you have never seen him or heard about him before, chances are that you have seen his artwork already. If pictures of a can of soup or Marilyn Monroe in various colors ring a bell, then you know his style already! He was a highly influential artist in the Pop art movement and was known for his colorful and eccentric style that took everyday objects and turned them into artworks.
What Style Was Andy Warhol’s Art?
Andy Warhol was a Pop artist. He created silkscreens of consumer products and famous people, as well as many self-portraits. His style was garishly colorful and bold, with very high levels of saturation, contrast, and complementary colors.
Isabella studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature & Language and Psychology. Throughout her undergraduate years, she took Art History as an additional subject and absolutely loved it. Building on from her art history knowledge that began in high school, art has always been a particular area of fascination for her. From learning about artworks previously unknown to her, or sharpening her existing understanding of specific works, the ability to continue learning within this interesting sphere excites her greatly.
Her focal points of interest in art history encompass profiling specific artists and art movements, as it is these areas where she is able to really dig deep into the rich narrative of the art world. Additionally, she particularly enjoys exploring the different artistic styles of the 20th century, as well as the important impact that female artists have had on the development of art history.
Cite this Article
Isabella, Meyer, “Andy Warhol Quotes – Quotes by Andy Warhol About Making Art.” Art in Context. September 20, 2022. URL: https://artincontext.org/andy-warhol-quotes/
Meyer, I. (2022, 20 September). Andy Warhol Quotes – Quotes by Andy Warhol About Making Art. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/andy-warhol-quotes/