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James Warhola's illustrations at the Millbrook Library Gallery

by Carola Lott
Thu Feb 11th, 2016

Original illustrations by James Warhola from his children’s books “Uncle Andy’s Cats” and “Uncle Andy’s” can now be seen at the Millbrook Library. 

The illustrations depict a visit by James Warhola’s family (seven children) to their  uncle, Andy Warhol. The artist dropped the a from his name. After a chaotic departure and a long drive they arrive at their uncle’s doorstep in New York. Even portrayed from the back, it is obvious Uncle Andy is startled to see them. “Dad always thought it best not to phone ahead so it would be a surprise,” Warhola writes.

James Warhola was born in Pittsburgh in 1955. Like his uncle, James attended the Tam O’Shanter art classes and graduated from Carnegie- Melon University in 1977. He later moved to New York to attend the Art Students League and work in freelance illustration and design work.

Warhola’s colorful paintings take us inside Andy Warhol’s house that overflowed with an assortment of the disparate objects he collected throughout his life. His nephew to calls it a “Giant Amusement Park.” Cats appear in many of the illustrations; in one picture I counted over 20. One can only assume Warhol collected cats as avidly as he did things. 

We also see Uncle Andy at work painting soup cans and other icons of the pop art movement he made famous. In one humorous picture Warhola shows his sister running into her uncle’s bedroom one morning before he had time to put on his wig. In another we see the Warhola family all wearing Uncle Andy’s old wigs, which he often gave them to wear.

Warhola’s bright and cheery works filled with humor make a delightful tribute to his Uncle’s memory.