What Techniques Did Andy Warhol Use?

Andy Warhol used a range of mediums for creating art, including painting by hand, fashion, film, writing and music, but he is best known for his silkscreen printing technique. Before moving on to use photographs later in his career, Warhol originally based these prints on his own drawings, as was the case of “129 Die in Jet!”

Warhol commissioned professionals to create silkscreen meshes of the photographs he had chosen. Parts of these screens were blocked out with glue so that when the artist passed an ink-soaked sponge on them, the ink would soak through the porous parts to the canvas below. Other colors were added in the same way.

Warhol’s own contribution to the traditional silk screen process was to use high-key acrylic paint in addition to ink, which gave his images their distinctive abundance of color. Many of his “pop art” works were created in this way, including his prints of the actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Although not deliberate, Warhol welcomed imperfections in his work, such as the bleeding of one color into the next, describing it as the intervention of chance. More than anything, Warhol wanted to feel as though he were a machine in his studio, a creative space and celebrity hangout that was aptly named “The Factory.”