“Art is what you can get away with.” – Andy Warhol
Growing up, Andy Warhol’s work had always been a huge inspiration to me. His unique ability to iconize mundane and day-to-day objects and turn them into a vision of high art through multiple layers of pop art, visuals and all sorts of coloring effects always amazed me. Just like this iconic Campbell soup can, stenciled by Warhol himself, an ordinary, everyday object is suddenly translated from a context of dietary form to inspiration for one to create multiple variations of its red-white color. In a nutshell, Warhol amplifies the beauty in small things and ideas in life and reconstructs ingenious meaning into its simplicity, thus telling everyone else to “let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
I visited the Warhol exhibition located on Homer Street in downtown of Vancouver. Originating from the Revolver Gallery of Beverly Hills, this collection of artwork was flown over and placed onto the four walls of the exhibition space in Vancouver. And the best part? FREE ENTRANCE! However, no food or drinks were permitted so my friend and I had a frozen blast chugging down our iced coffees before finally going in. Right away, I recognized many familiar and iconic pieces as I stepped in, and saw others that I had to wreck my brain to remember as I made my way through. I enjoyed the diverse amount of Warhol’s artwork that they showcased, from some of his colorful pop art of well-known celebrities (Marilyn Munroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, communist chairman Mao Zedong, Elvis Presley), to more obscure expressionist artwork, including images of enlarged dollar signs, Mickey Mouse, and flowers. Beside each work was a little informative blurb explaining the context of each work, or if you prefer a more interactive history, there was also a very knowledgeable and readily available tour guide happy to enlighten you on the many phases of Warhol’s inspiration. And if the colours get too overwhelming for you, there are seats for you to take a break and admire from afar.
Although it was a fairly brief walk-around (depending on how long you wish to indulge your time in there), it was overall a really neat experience to be able to take a peek at some of Warhols original, real-life works from when he himself was alive as an iconic figure. Warhol also made several films and short movies using numerous muses that include celebrities or other day-to-day objects that he found exciting – he did more than paintings and art on paper. Speaking for the non-artsy side of the population, it is sometimes hard to appreciate or understand Warhol’s work at first because of its simplicity and redundancy in images (but not colours). Regardless, if you’re going for a neighborhood walk downtown, or just getting a bite to eat, or shopping with some of your homies, it’s definitely worth checking out when you got some spare time on your hands.