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Andy Warhol: From Nowhere to Up There

an oral history of Andy Warhol's early years

by Gary Comenas

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page twenty-eight

George Frei/Neil Prinz: After the stencilled [serial] soup can paintings, Warhol used stamps that he carved from art gum erasers, and silkscreens that he had fabricated from line drawings, to produce the serial and single S&H Green Stamps and Airmail Stamps, Dollar Bill, and shipping and handling labels compositions. (GF066)

Heiner Bastian: ...Warhol, still working in one room of his house on Lexington Avenue, turned his attention to making several completely different variations on a number of themes. Multiplication of motifs in serially structured sequences was henceforth to form the basis of his pictorial production. In the case of S&H Green Stamps and 192 One Dollar Bills Warhol did not use templates; instead he took rubberised stamps. The print quality of these stamps was suited to relatively small, limited sections of Warhol's motifs; above all they facilitated the process of repetition. (HB26-27)

Nathan Gluck: We started at some point, I don't know how it happened, but Andy wanted to reproduce things, and rather than have rubber stamps made, he thought maybe we could carve things in balsa wood. Well that was too much of a chore. I think maybe we did a Coke Bottle with balsa wood, and we discovered soap erasers. You know, art gum... an eraser that comes in a cubular form. It's brown like octagon soap, like laundry soap, and it usually comes in two by two by three. We discovered one place once that had it in flat surfaces with four inch square and about an inch and a half thick... All the stamps were made from soap eraser... I made the S&H stamps out of a soap eraser... (PSC60/65)

Georg Frei/Neil Printz: A contact sheet by Edward Wallowitch... shows an S&H Green Stamp work on paper and Red Airmail Stamps among exposures of related works from the period, including a Ferus-type Campbell's Soup Can (Tomato) and Dance Diagram [1], as well as the photographic source of Torn Campbell's Soup Can (Vegetable Beef). This sheet places these works in the first months of 1962 and shows that the stamped paintings were begun before all the Campbell's paintings were completed. (GF116)

Ted Carey: ... even before that, in his commercial work he [Warhol] often used rubber stamps, which is, in a way, related to screen printing. You know, it's a print technique. So for him to think of the screen particularly with the cans of Campbell's Soup and the money: they were so graphic to begin with, it was just a natural way for him, to think.  (PS257)

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