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Adult Activity Inspired by Andy Warhol's 100 Cans, 1962

Before becoming the prolific artist he is known as today, Andy Warhol was the most successful and highly paid commercial illustrator in New York. Warhol’s paintings from the early 1960s were crucial in pioneering the breakdown between high and low art forms characteristic of Pop art, and his images of Marilyn Monroe, soup cans, and sensational newspaper stories quickly became synonymous with the emerging artistic movement.

Consumer goods and ad imagery were flooding the lives of Americans during this era, and Warhol turned his attention to consumer products like Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup as the basis for subtly re-creating this abundance. His use of everyday items encouraged people to be more observant of the world and commercial products around them. Warhol painted many works that feature soup cans, both individually and in groups. 100 Cans was painted by hand with the partial use of stencils; however, a closer look reveals that the cans are not identical. For example, the amount of black in the word “Soup” is not always consistent and the clarity of the word “Campbell’s” varies. The same year he made this painting, Warhol began using silk screen, which allowed him—and others—to produce his work in an assembly-line fashion that emphasized the ways in which everything can be processed and packaged for consumption, even art.

In this activity for adults, we'll walk you through how to create a stencil series featuring an everyday object inspired by Warhol's 100 Cans, 1962.

100 Cans

Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). 100 Cans, 1962. Casein, spray paint, and pencil on cotton, 72 x 52 inches (182.9 x 132.1 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1963 (K1963:26). © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Campbell's trademarks used with permission of Campbell Soup Company

Getting Started

  • How has the way we view consumer goods changed (or stayed the same) since Andy Warhol made 100 Cans?
  • Why do you think Warhol picked soup cans?
  • Does the repetition of the single soup can change the way you think about the object?

Materials

  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes/sponge
  • Cardstock or piece of thin cardboard to make your stencil
  • X-ACTO knife/scissors
  • Tape

Alternative materials:

  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Colored pencils

Artmaking Activity

1. Pick an object in your house.

2. Draw your object on a piece of cardstock.

3. Using an X-ACTO knife, scissors, or other sharp object, cut your object out. Think about positive and negative space in your print. (What do you want to remain? What do you want to cut out?)

4. Place your newly created stencil on a piece of paper and paint in the details.

Tip: Tape your stencil down to ensure it doesn’t move while you paint!

5. Repeat until you cover the entire page.

Optional: Share your creation on Twitter or Instagram with #AKBeyondWalls and #MuseumFromHome!

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