Andy Warhol / by Geoff Harrison

He was pale, he suffered dyslexia, he had a skin condition that blotched in the sun, he was described as looking like something that crawled out from under a rock, he was gay (an issue then if not now), he was shy - as a primary school kid was he beaten up by a girl and spent weeks at home recovering from it psychologically.  He came from a working class immigrant Slovakian family and his father died when he was thirteen.

Yet at the time of his death, Andy Warhol had an estate estimated to be worth $600m.  So how did he do it?  It probably helped that shortly before his death his father set up a trust that got Andy through art school, but he was also talented and fiercely ambitious.

 As soon as he was old enough he left his native Pennsylvania for New York.  One of his associates said Warhol had a vivid sense of his own limitations and he knew that what he would achieve in life would be within these limitations.  So Warhol developed the persona of Andy the machine - deadpan Andy, and he exsponged all emotion out of his life (so it seemed).  I hated Andy Warhol at art school, but now I wished he was still alive and doing the things he did so well, especially early in his career - taking the piss out of this world and its obsession with wealth, celebrity, commercialism and violence.