JAMES WARHOLA: UNCLE ANDY AND OTHER STORIES

June 10, 2017 through October 29, 2017

“Though my inspiration and encouragement to be an artist came from Uncle Andy, I am more connected to Norman Rockwell in substance and style. While I was growing up, Rockwell was ubiquitous to me. I could not help but be excited by his wonderful narrative images.”

—James Warhola

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, illustrator James Warhola was influenced as a child by his artistic family—especially his famous uncle, Pop artist-Andy Warhol. From an early age, he watched his uncle create illustrations for shoes, shopping bags, and advertisements, which piqued his interest in the world of art.

Like Andy Warhol, Warhola attended Tam O’Shanter’s Saturday Art Classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. A move to New York City brought him to the Art Students League, where he refined his painting skills and set out to establish a career as a freelance illustrator. First specializing in science fiction and fantasy illustration, Warhola has since created artworks for more than three-hundred-fifty book jackets, including Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and Neuromancer by William Gibson. In 1987, he accepted his first of thirty-five children’s book commissions, a path that offered new opportunities for expression. Warhola been a regular contributor to Mad magazine since 1980, and has been a primary illustrator for the popular Garbage Pail Kids card series.

This special compendium exhibition to Inventing America: Rockwell and Warhol explores Warhola’s outstanding career as a science fiction, fantasy, and children’s book artist, including original illustrations for his acclaimed picture books, Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol, and Uncle Andy’s Cats, which document his memorable family gatherings.

James Warhola was one of seven children born to Paul and Ana in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was the older brother of famed Pop artist-Andy Warhol. From an early age, Warhola watched his uncle create illustrations for shoes, shopping bags, and advertisements, which piqued his interest in the world of art.

Like Andy Warhol, Warhola attended Tam O’Shanter’s Saturday Art Classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in design. In 1977, he moved to New York City and attended to the Art Students League, where Norman Rockwell and so many other noted artists found inspiration. There, he refined his painting skills, and with a focus on comics, science fiction, and fantasy illustration, found work as a freelance illustrator and designer. Warhola has created artworks for more than three hundred book jackets, including Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and Neuromancer by William Gibson. In addition, he has been a regular contributor for Mad magazine since 1980, creating both cover and story illustrations, and one of the primary artists for the popular Garbage Pail Kids trading card series.

In 1987, he began to illustrate children’s books, including The Pumpkinville Mystery, Eddie: Harold’s Younger Brother, The Tinderbox, and The Brave Little Tailor.  In 2004, Warhola won the International Reading Association’s Award for Best Children’s Non-Fiction Picture Book for his book Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol, a recount of family trip to New York City to see his uncle and grandmother. In 2009, he wrote and illustrated the sequel Uncle Andy’s: Uncle Andy’s Cats.

“My first memories of Andy were of him as a very busy illustrator, with a different name than ours,” Warhola recalls. “Oh, about the name change from Warhola to Warhol, which is something I’m often asked about. He dropped the ‘a’ simply because it was easier to pronounce, not because he knocked the ‘a’ off trying to hit a roach coming out of his portfolio while on his first interview—a story that my father liked to tell.”

James Warhola resides in Tivoli, New York. Warhola continues to illustrate children’s books today.

IMAGES

James Warhola at home in his studio
James Warhola at home in his studio
Warhola, James - Uncle Andy's Cats
James Warhola, Uncle Andy’s Cats, 2008. Cover illustration for Uncle Andy’s Cats, 2008. Watercolor and ink on paper, 11 ½” x 14 ½”. ©James Warhola. All rights reserved.
James Warhola at home in his studio
Uncle Andy, We’re Here! Illustration for Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol by James Warhola, Picture Puffin Books Watercolor and pencil on paper Collection of the artist
James Warhola at home in his studio
Jamie Drawing in the Junkyard, 2002 James Warhola
James Warhola at home in his studio
Stranger in a Strange Land 1997 Cover illustration for Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein Oil on canvas board Collection of the artist
James Warhola at home in his studio
Mona “GPK” Lisa n.d. Illustration for Garbage Pail Kids Trading Cards Watercolor and ink on paper. Collection of the artist
James Warhola at home in his studio
Illustration for Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol
by James Warhola, Picture Puffin Books. Watercolor and pencil on paper. Collection of the artist