Book Review - Becoming Andy Warhol


"Celebrated during his lifetime as much for his personality as for his paintings, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is the man who invented Pop Art, the notion of 15 minutes of fame and the idea that an artist could be as illustrious as the work he creates. With a unique, focused look at Warhol's life, this graphic novel biography offers insight into the turning point of Warhol's career and the time leading up to the creation of the Thirteen Most Wanted Men mural for the 1964 World s Fair, when Warhol clashed with urban planner Robert Moses and architect Philip Johnson. In Becoming Andy Warhol, New York Times bestselling writer Nick Bertozzi and artist Pierce Hargan showcase the moment when, by stubborn force of personality and sheer burgeoning talent, Warhol went up against the creative establishment and emerged to become one of the most significant artists of the 20th century."

Lately I feel like I talk about Andy Warhol a lot in this little space on the Internet but it seems like so many things that I have read this year have had a connection to him in one way or another and today's book is no different.  Becoming Andy Warhol is a Graphic Novel based on the part of Warhol's life that some of use might not be as familiar with, the part where he is just an emerging artist struggling to find his way.

This is the first graphic novel I have ever owned.  Earlier in the year I decided that I really, really wanted to seek out a graphic novel and have a read but I never managed to get round to it until now.  I love art so much and I love stories so much so you'd think I would have been the number one fan in the graphic novel club by now but I have just never felt a connection to any that I have seen before, I love the art in so many of them but the stories have just never grabbed me.
So I was crazy excited to finally have found one that I knew was going to be right up my street.

I found myself taking a few pages to really get the hang of the graphic novel layout but once I had familiarised myself with it, it kinda shocked me how fast I got through the book and really enjoyed it.  I think I had forgot how fun it is to read and look at pictures at the same time, it seems to add such another dimension to the work and I really loved it.

The story really got me though, I think it helps that I am such a big Warhol lover and I sort of eat up any specs of information I can about the dude and that whole era.  But I just didn't want the book to end I could have read more and more, it is written in such a natural, effortless way and the combination of the words and pictures really gave me such a clear idea of the story in my head.  I loved reading the interpretation of Warhol and his 'earlier' years and I think if you are a fan its definitely something you will enjoy reading.

The book itself is stunning.  It's a hard-backed book with a shiny, metallic almost mirror finish to it.  The front and back cover actually took my breath away when I saw them.  I really, really want the front cover made into a print for my wall as its one of the most beautiful pieces of art I've seen in a while and completely the type of art I just love.  The illustrations inside the book have a simplicity that I find beautiful, but also such intricate detail its such a mix and I enjoyed the drawings a lot.

I really hope that the author and artist team up for more books together as this is simply stunning.
Perfect for a gift or for a present to yourself this year.....

 Becoming Andy Warhol by Nick Bertozzi, illustrated by Pierce Hargan* (Abrams, £15.99).