Scholastic Award alum Andy Warhol got his early start in Soho. And by Soho, we don’t mean the New York City mecca of culture and style that’s become synonymous with high fashion and world-renowned galleries. Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in the working-class suburb of Soho in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From childhood he loved to draw, attending free classes at the Carnegie Institute and later becoming the first in his family to graduate from college by earning a degree in pictorial design. Through out his life, Warhol interacted with other notable Scholastic Award alumni.
In 1949, after finishing college, Warhol boarded an overnight train with high school classmate and fellow Scholastic alum Philip Pearlstein, where the two became roommates in New York City. That same year, when a magazine misspelled his name in an illustration credit, he decided to keep the typographic error, and “Andy Warhol” was born. Scholastic alum Truman Capote also inspired Warhol’s first solo show and was later known to visit his midtown studio, the Factory. Though the Factory building (located at 231 East 47th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) no longer exists, Warhol’s legacy remains. Over the course of his career he became a leading figure in the American Pop Art movement, working with paint, printmaking, film and photography, and interacted with numerous cultural icons such as the Velvet Underground, Salvador Dali and Bob Dylan. His works (and birthday), continue to be celebrated through museums, retrospective shows, books and even memorial cupcakes.
Warhol was once quoted as saying: “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.”
Photo Credit, above: Andy Warhol at Exhibition, wearing Gold Key Pin. Photograph by Susan Greenwood/ Getty Images