Monday, March 2, 2015

Andy Warhol's Family Kickstarts Documentary

Andy Warhol's nieces and nephews are Kickstarting a documentary about their uncle Andy. The family has a unique perspective on the story of Warhol's rise from his Pittsburgh roots to dominate the New York art scene.

Older brother Paul, who ran the family's junkyard, nurtured Andy's early interest in newspaper images and photography. When I sketched Paul about 10 years ago, he told me, “I got Andy started. We put wax over the funny papers and rubbed over it with a spoon. I got him his first camera. We dug out the basement and put in a red light [for a photo darkroom]."

The docu's producers, Abby Warhola and Jesse Best, shot extensive interviews of Paul Warhola before his death in 2014, and they interviewed Paul's sons Marty and George, who continue to work in the scrap metal and recycling business.

Andy's mother Julia immigrated from Slovakia and brought with her the old-country Rusyn traditions for lettering and ornament that the family still carries on. An ostrich egg, decorated in the Pysansky style by Madalen Warhola, will be one of the Kickstarter rewards.

Andy's nephew James Warhola is himself a gifted painter who has illustrated for MAD magazine. He has written and illustrated a children's book based on his memories of visiting the New York home of their famous uncle. 

James would try on his wigs, and sometimes Andy would ask him to help with some of the paintings. Signed and remarqued copies of James' book will be among the rewards. 

They hope to reach their goal by April 2.
Kickstarter: Uncle Andy: The Warhola Family Film
Book by James Warhola: Uncle Andy's
Previously on GJ: Sketch of Paul Warhola


krystal said...

Cool. One of my closest faculty friends from college used to hang out at the Factory. He had a lot of fun stories, and he actually used to work for IBM freelance, as well as still play bass (a real polymath). Sadly, he passed away a few years ago. Those guys were some real artists, and had the personality to boot. Miss my dearest friend and the NY scene!

rotm81 said...

One would think that the family has enough money to not rely on crowdsourcing for a documentary?

James Gurney said...

Rotm81, that would be assuming they all inherited a bunch of their uncle's artwork, but almost everything went to the museum & foundation. They're a very hardworking family, and they're all artistic in different ways.

Krystal, yes, it seems like everyone who was part of the Factory was changed by it, and a lot of them became famous artists or photographers. Andy really attracted people to hang out with him, and he gave everyone work that they could do to help out what he was doing.