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//Andy Warhol for the Little Ones// Iwona Wojnarowicz

Andy Warhol for the Little Ones Iwona Wojnarowicz

Who doesn’t know Andy Warhold, the pop-art king? Some people see him as the crook that distorted the notion of art, but the majority consider him to be a genius that explored and opened up new artistic spaces. Everyone has seen the multiplied portrait of Marilyn Monroe or Campbell’s Soup Cans. We know that Warhol designed shoes, bags, advertising leaflets and record covers. But have we heard that he also created children’s books? Warhol’s output still hides some secrets. Last year, a London printing house published a colouring book full of the artist’s own projects, created before he became an icon of pop-art.

In 1949, Andy Warhol left the provincial Pittsburgh and came to New York to pursue a career in art. Soon enough, he became famous as an illustrator and ad designer.

His lucky break took place in 1953, when he started co-operating with Teddy and Arthur Edelmans from Fleming-Joffe Ltd. His new colleagues were actually the ones who, in 1961, asked him to create the illustrations presented in this issue. The idea was to present them as Christmas gifts to the children of Edelmans’ customers.

However, this little colouring book did not appear in print until 1990. Its recent reprint has met with enthusiasm both among Warhol’s fans and other audiences.

The twenty four pages present fourteen reproductions of Warhol’s drawings. The book, as the artist writes in the introduction, was designed as a set of separate pages that may become independent works of art, a perfect wall picture or a gift to someone we love. Each page testifies to Warhol’s ingenious drawing abilities and inspires the young reader to bring the drafted picture to life.

The illustration are subtle and refined in their intricate, irregular strokes. Despite the abundance of detail, they do not overwhelm the viewer with their form. The strokes are harmonious and the funny, exotic menagerie encourages children to create their own stories around them by putting in more and more colours. Inspiration can also be sought in the titles given to each of the sketches, like Sweet Kid or Serpent.

When it comes to books such as this, one cannot separate the role of the artist and the reader. Every stroke that sets out the contours reveals the personality of its creator. When we start colouring, the artist’s style inspires us to use our imagination. Each illustration becomes an independent work of art, created by young readers in co-operation with the author of the colouring book that gives them opportunity to develop their imagination.

A Coloring Book: Drawings by Andy Warhol

24 pages

Thames & Hudson

London 2011

ISBN 978-0-500-28977-8

Iwona Wojnarowicz (born 1985) – graduated from history of art at the Jagiellonian University. Certified specialist in audiodescription, catalogue systems and documenting collections , as well as adjusting exhibitions and artistic projects to the needs of disabled audiences. At MOCAK, she is responsible for inventory-taking, digitalising and documenting the collection as well as co-ordinating the Museum’s educational projects.