Warholas at Work | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Warholas at Work

Andy Warhol's Factory died with the artist decades ago. But the Factory Spirit ~ for making Art and peddling junk ~ persists among his family today.

On several occasions in the early 1960s, Andy Warhol found himself surrounded by a cadre of eager young people. They were full of chaotic energy, and had come for no other reason than to hang out and have a good time. Sometimes their behavior could get crazy, but they meant well. To give them something to do, Warhol assigned them whatever busywork he might need for his early Pop art pieces: stenciling the paint-by-numbers for the Do It Yourself series, tracing the dance steps for paintings like Fox Trot, stretching canvas and other odd jobs.

But these weren't the decadent Silver Factory kids: They were actual kids, his older brother Paul Warhola's seven children, from toddlers to teenagers, who would descend en masse on Andy and the kids' grandmother, Julia Warhola, when Paul and his wife Ann brought them on surprise visits from Pittsburgh to New York.

Amid Andy's creative chaos, the little Warholas were introduced to the idea that "everything is art," from kitschy castoffs and to soup cans. And by matter-of-factly putting them to work, Warhol implied that even the likes of them, the sons and daughters of a Pittsburgh junkman, could have some role in making it. "The Pop idea, after all, was that anybody could do anything," Andy would say later.

Indeed, as Andy established his Factory in the 1960s, his associates were sometimes literally plucked right off the street. More important than a good résumé -- or even any ability to accomplish things -- was raw talent and the willingness simply to work for Andy, even if that meant you started off sweeping floors.

"He was a great delegator," Andy's nephew, James Warhola, remembers. Warhol introduced the idea that art wasn't necessarily the solitary pursuit of one's infinitely complex and intangible inner emotions: Art was doing stuff, which was more fun with a bunch of interesting people around to help you. Second, art -- for Warhol, at least -- was also something inseparable from commerce, just as seemingly banal commercial culture was filled with art.

For many of Andy's surviving relatives -- most of whom are still in Pittsburgh living largely blue-collar if eccentric lives -- this approach rings true, even when it's applied to ventures that stretch the definition of "art" quite a bit. Just as Andy worked to make a name for himself in New York as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, and then reinvented himself as a fine artist in the 1960s, his older brother Paul built a successful business from lowly scrap and other ad hoc ventures. Other members of the Warhola family include a professional illustrator, an amateur watercolorist, two more scrapmen who attract casts of interesting if odd hangers-on, and, finally, a niece who gets paid to screen print but who also pursues the pysanky egg-decorating tradition (as taught by Andy's mother, Julia) for peace and quiet.

In his new children's book, Uncle Andy: A Faabbulous Visit With Andy Warhol! -- the first of his books that he wrote as well as illustrated -- James Warhola (who now lives in the Hudson Valley north of New York City) remembers what these visits to New York meant to his family.

Set in 1962, the story begins far away from Andy Warhol's glamorous New York life, in a cluttered Pennsylvania farmyard, where Paul's personal collection of junk oddities from his scrap-metal business is as numerous and varied as his and Ann's family. In watercolor illustrations, James depicts his father, round and wearing overalls, tossing odd pieces of junk together to make ad hoc "sculptures." The kids played with the junk, too, and slowly learned the scrap business, sometimes accompanying their father to an impressive junk mountain, an old-fashioned dump they called "The Hill."

In James' book, when Dad announces that it's time for the family to take off to visit Uncle Andy and the kids' "Bubba," the luggage tied on the roof of the dusty, kid-jammed station wagon is topped off with Paul's present to his brother: an enormous, U-shaped scavenged magnet, with bundles of rusty bolts clinging to each of its poles. Wouldn't that be a great gift, James' book implies, for someone who keeps a big crushed car (by John Chamberlain) in his living room, and things like cigar-store Indians and carousel horses all over the house? When they give it to him, young James says he can tell how much Andy likes it by the inflection of his "gee."

Once they get to Andy's Manhattan brownstone -- at that time, he didn't yet have the Factory and was still doing both commercial assignments and his early Pop work at home -- they're greeted by the big, wet kisses of Julia, and immediately commence chasing the many cats named Sam around the house. (Despite popular belief, "There might not have been 26," James says in an interview. "They were never all in the same place. There were maybe just 15.")

Despite his aloof and carefully calculated public image, James says, Andy always received the family warmly. "With us he was really different" from his public persona, James says. "He certainly was more engaging and conversational. He could have a good laugh. But then there was this side to him that was very serious, that he had work to do. He had a lot of stuff going on in his head that nobody probably knew."

To keep working with nine extra people in the house, Andy turned his distractions into assistants. "He knew I liked to do art, so he let me help him with his giant paint-by-number sailboat painting," young Jamie narrates in Uncle Andy. Meanwhile, James shows his sister Mary Lou (who would grow up to dabble in watercolors) organizing Andy's art supplies, Bubba lettering an ad, Paul building a bookcase and his brother George staple-gunning a dance-step canvas to its frame. (Today, George recalls that he dropped the tool and ripped the canvas. "My uncle wasn't mad. He just said, 'Oh, Georgie!'")

Although "important art people" were coming to the house to check out the new Pop (the children eavesdrop from behind a big Elvis canvas), Andy seems not to mind such young amateurs doing his work. In much of his art -- like the improvised movies, for example -- Andy made use of an element of chance: A good idea made the finished product interesting, not a fussy execution. Because the works were all "Andy Warhols," the fact that other people might actually do parts of them didn't matter.

Andy would soon make this system famous with the Factory, which was a see-and-be-seen hangout as much as a place to produce his screen prints and other art. Though Andy kept his underage and impressionable nieces and nephews away from the Factory (presumably because of the members' drug use and other adult activities), he was happy to recreate the kids' creative, rambunctious, productivity with another -- and far less innocent -- set of young people.

JULIA (mother)
Of course, the kids came not just to see Andy, but also to visit their Bubba, who also happened to be one of Andy's first art assistants.

In the 1950s, when Julia's older two sons were settling into their own family lives, she decided that she would be most useful to her youngest. "My mother had shown up one night at the apartment where I was living with a few suitcases and shopping bags," Andy described in Popism, "and she announced that she'd left Pennsylvania for good 'to come live with my Andy.' I told her okay, she could stay, but just until I got a burglar alarm." Instead, Julia ended up living with Andy until shortly before her death in 1972.

Though Andy carefully kept his Factory life separate from his home life, his mother was known to his close associates and was, like any Superstar, plunked in front of Warhol's movie camera for two half-hour reels. (Though she mostly ignores the camera in this movie, she still demonstrates the charisma her family remembers, gesturing and chattering cheerfully in her native language of Rusyn the entire time, pausing only to deliver a few awkward but playful English lines in her "role" as an aging starlet heartbreaker. "Too many husbands!" she says gleefully, all while cooking eggs and ironing Andy's tighty-whitey "gutchees.")

More than her one-shot film career, Julia became truly well known for lettering Andy's commercial illustration jobs. Though Julia also created her own charming, naïve drawings, Andy mostly made use of her inky, curlicue handwriting style -- frequently even to sign "Andy Warhol" on his own artwork. This calligraphy, far from being elegant or restrained, was clumsily beautiful, irregular and filled with the misspellings you'd expect from a non-native English speaker. Julia created this writing with her own style of self-expression, James recalls: "She'd have her dipping pen, and she'd be looking over and jabbering at me [in Rusyn, her native language]. & And all the time, her hands would be moving. It was almost like a maestro performing; it was just her way of doing things. Just almost kind of oblivious to the outside world." Though her writing's all over these illustrations, most don't bear her signature. When she did sign, she wrote "Andy Warhol's mother."

Julia even won a design award for an album cover she lettered for 1958's The Story of Moondog. After writing out the text in her distinctive style, Andy cut the words up and rearranged them on the cover. According to Warhol's assistant, Nathan Gluck, the name engraved on the award wasn't "Julia Warhola." Once again, it was "Andy Warhol's mother."

PAUL (brother)
It was no wonder Andy had family members help him. Julia herself had done the same.

When he was 12, Paul remembers Julia asking him to help her hawk some decorative flowers that she had created out of tin cans (soup cans, in one too-good-to-be-true version of the story). It was in the midst of the Depression, and the boys' father, Andrej, also a Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant, was out of work. "She'd say, 'Come on Paul, you gotta go with me, you gotta do the talking.' We'd walk up to Oakland" -- at the time, the Warholas lived in the poorer Soho neighborhood. "I was embarrassed," Paul says. "Fifty cents she sold 'em for. It was a lot of work for 50 cents. She did it because we needed the money."

Later, Paul would follow suit, and get his youngest brother Andy to help him sell things. Eventually, the family was able to move to more-prosperous Oakland, which, to teenage Paul, was prime commercial real estate. Now he was close enough to hustle around Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium. "Andy worked for me," Paul says. "He sold peanuts." Paul paid a woman $200 for the season to use her front porch as an ad hoc storefront. "We sold peanuts, pennants, pins, these beautiful gold mums."

"And of course," he adds conspiratorially, "I'd scalp tickets & High school coaches always had extra tickets. I'd give 'em $1, sell for $2."

When the boys' father died in 1942, Paul was 20; with the additional responsibility for the family, he came of age as an entrepreneur. At first his businesses were side work to his first steady job at U.S. Steel. In addition to a business in arcade machines, Paul began to drive a fruit huckster's truck, buying wholesale produce and carting it around for resale to the neighborhoods. Once again, he enlisted Andy's help. One of the artist's oldest surviving works, from 1946, is a very sharp, cleverly shaded line-drawing of women gathering around this truck; "Paul's & " can be seen on the truck's side behind the customers in the foreground.

Several decades later, when he retired and began to dabble in art, Paul also made an artwork that memorializes that time in the family's life. And just as Andy took that drawing's subject matter from his brother's business, Paul's piece is directly influenced by his younger brother's style. Using his daughter Madalen's screen-printing studio, Paul made a print of an old photo of Paul and Andy as teenagers. At this stage, Paul's a full head taller than Andy and smoking a cigarette in a hard-boiled, Depression-era way; Andy looks characteristically wistful. The edges of this black-and-white image are framed with pastel, weirdly dreamy prints of chicken feet (paintings in which Paul presses chicken-foot prints onto the canvas, are another of Paul's artistic experiments). Andy's silkscreens used the images of Marilyn and Elvis to comment on the culture, but Paul's aim seems simple and personal: to creatively display a family treasure.

"I believe my dad was a frustrated artist," James says. "But he never could pursue it; he was busy raising us kids." His daughter Mary Lou recalls that, once, Paul created "this beautiful sketch of my mother on the couch. I wish we still had that." Encouraged by her brother James, Mary Lou, too, is now painting. She does landscapes in watercolors.

Long before he could try his own hand and his chickens' feet as an amateur artist, Paul set to being a successful, professional junkman. He insists, "The junk business was the last thing I wanted to get into," but brags, "[I]n 1979, I grossed $3 million working out of two shoeboxes." He says he's happily paying his grandkids' college tuition, and pulls out a bill to prove it. At first, he was anxious about entering the business because he felt it was full of "conniving." "I put the Lord Jesus on a chair," he says, pantomiming the ritual (Paul is a Byzantine Catholic, as Warhol was and the rest of the family are). "And I prayed to the Lord, 'I want to get out of this business.' 'You better not,' he said. So I said, 'I'll just be honest with the people,' and I taught the kids that."

"When you think he raised seven kids and never had a steady job!" Mary Lou recalls. "My mom would say, 'I need $600 by the end of the month for bills,' and he'd have it."

Today, two of Paul's sons, George and Marty, have stayed in the family business.

GEORGE (nephew)
From the wide-open overhead door to George Warhola's scrap building on the North Side, you can see the closed-for-repairs 16th Street Bridge almost directly overhead, and you can see workers, small as clothespins, balancing on its curves. As the afternoon progresses, a curtain of pastel tarps drops from the closest span, revealing a new, bright gold paint job, which looks especially sunny and new next to the faded yellow on the rest of the bridge. The skies are clear, and the sun throws a wedge of light just inside the dim cinderblock building where Georgie does his business.

Georgie (everyone calls him this, even though he's nearly 50 with gray in his hair) doesn't even leave the building to replenish his smokes or get a new Styrofoam cup of coffee from Mullin's Diner next door. He sends his customers (the people from whom he buys scrap are called "customers," even though Georgie pays them) or his buddy who drops by. The waitress at the counter knows what he likes.

Georgie's wearing a gray polo shirt with the collar standing halfway on edge; he probably doesn't notice. On the back is a screen print of James' cartoony drawings of the whole family: Paul, Ann, and the seven kids, all arranged Brady Bunch-style with the logo "The Warhola Bunch." Madalen did the screen prints on the occasion of a weeklong family reunion at a rented beach house on Cape May in New Jersey, which he was too busy to attend.

All morning, Georgie keeps complaining about himself: "Geez, I'm tired! Why am I so tired?" But he'd said first thing that he was out running the truck to drop off materials until 3 a.m. the night before.

"I know, I know," James says when told of his older brother's work schedule. "I tell him to take a break." George has the beginnings of arthritis in his wrist, and James says, "We're tired of telling him he should go get health care."

A parade of characters comes and goes from the business, bringing pick-ups full of pipe, radiators, odd aluminum parts, even a stainless steel kitchen sink. Coincidentally, one of the first visitors happens to be George's brother-in-law Don Hoover, his sister Madalen's husband.

He's working with the McKenry family in picking through the ruin of the A. F. Schwerd Column Factory on the North Side, which burned this spring. The factory was nearly 150 years old, and had been in the McKenry family since the 1930s. The big donuts of charred, ashy aluminum they bring were used as bases for the wooden columns.

George seems to know all of his customers by name, even some of the unsavory ones, like one gutter-punky kid who comes by first thing that morning, with no more than 40 cans tied up in a ratty lace curtain, like some sort of goth Huckleberry Finn. Georgie pays him the few singles this earns and calls him by name in a kind voice. When he's gone, Georgie mutters, "A pincushion, that one."

In George's tiny office, among the free calendars, phone numbers scrawled on a door, and past few days' Styrofoam coffee cups is a grimy little bottle labeled simply, "Holy Water." A cheap, playing-card-sized picture of Jesus is stuck into the window frame.

If Georgie's nose seems fixed to the grindstone, it's not because he knows nothing else of the world. In the mid-1980s, when Georgie was in his 20s, Andy asked him to help at the Factory. "To give him some advice on paintings," George jokes. Actually, George says, Andy suspected that paintings and other things were being stolen, and he wanted his nephew to be "the house detective," George says. George believes that Andy's suspicions were correct. Once, "There was a stick in the door and I found $50,000 in prints in the garbage. They stole from Uncle Andy all the time up there," he says.

Still, George had a good time, running with Joe Dallesandro's brother Bobby, who was Andy's unreliable chauffeur. But after a year or so, "My dad needed me at the business," he says. He recalls that Andy wanted him to stay: "'What do you want?' he says. I said, 'Uncle Andy, I'm not here for the money. I'm here to help you.'" George says he sometimes worried about his uncle. Though he was making piles of money, George says, Andy seemed overwhelmed by the 1980s glitterati Factory, and was even talking about coming to Pittsburgh to spend a month on Paul's farm. Despite his misgivings about his uncle's well being, George left New York -- "That famous shit didn't do much for me," he says -- and Andy never came to Pittsburgh.

But after a divorce a short while later, George set off to see the world, working off-the-books along the way to finance his travels. While he was in Australia, he says, Andy called Pittsburgh looking for him. His family didn't know how to contact him. Shortly thereafter, Andy was dead at 59.

As the afternoon wears on, the clouds pile up. Around five, it starts raining hard, drenching a box of metal filings outside. Though he's hardly slept, Georgie still has an evening's work ahead of him; he fires up his big Mack truck to run a load of glass to Glenshaw. His life has taken a much different trajectory than that of his famous uncle, but George says simply, "We all have our own lives to lead."

"I wanna get out of this," Georgie says, referring to the whole operation. "Don't ever get a job that's repetitious." The complaint sounds much like one Bob Colacello noted in his Warhol biography, Holy Terror!, which claimed Andy often didn't want to go to another fancy party to seek another portrait commission, which he regarded as hard work. "So many mouths to feed," Colacello quoted Andy saying.

But Georgie's complaint is unconvincing, considering he wouldn't even take a quick vacation to Jersey. As he guides his Mack truck off 28 and through Etna, he looks at his swollen wrist on the steering wheel, as if that painful pressure itself were keeping the truck on narrow lanes of Route 8. From time to time, he itches some scabby psoriasis on his elbow, but seems not to really notice it.

The rain's let up, but now it's seeping, very cold for mid-summer and gray as crumpled aluminum radiators. Wet grit grinds on the yard's old asphalt.

The boyfriend of one of Madalen's daughter's is there waiting to help him. "I'll be right there," Georgie says apologetically, barely touching the truck's metal-grill footholds as he jumps down from the Mack's high, dusty cab.

MADALEN (niece)
Though her three kids are growing out of their teenage years, it's clear that Maddy and the family kitchen are still the nerve centers of her family. Though there are other rooms in Madalen Warhola and Don Hoover's Lincoln Place house, you wouldn't know it. The kitchen cupboard and counters overflow with family-sized purchases for the teenage appetite, and the kitchen table is strewn with half-read mail and family possessions that didn't quite make it to any of those other rooms. While apologizing for the mess, Maddy tries to take care of three of the kitchen's permanent fixtures: an aged cat who mostly sleeps in a corner of the floor, a sweet-tempered three-legged spaniel mix named Natalie, and a bulldog puppy, Tucker, who was given to her daughter as a graduation present and who harasses Natalie. "Of a list of the 79 smartest dogs," Maddy says, "the bulldog was 77th! Oh, he's dumb! He's a dumb dog."

Maddy works part-time and makes screen-printed T-shirts for the Andy Warhol Museum's gift shop and other clients, but doesn't have a full-time job. This means she's easily enlisted for any odd family task. This morning, she accompanied her mother in taking Ann's dog to the vet. Yesterday, she hurriedly whipped up a pro bono last-minute job screen-printing T-shirts for charity. And last week, she took on what will probably be her toughest assignment yet: civilizing her little brother Marty and his merry misfits down at her dad's old scrap yard on the North Side. So far, the gang of scrappy hangers-on is resisting her efforts. "Oh! I don't know how long I'm gonna last!" she says, taking a hard-earned deep breath, right through her cigarette's filter. "They say, Maddy, go get us some beers. No, get us a case! Oo! We'll see! First I'm gonna work on Marty, then the rest of 'em." Though it might sound like she's laying down the law, Maddy has a comfortably broad Pittsburgh accent and the fun, easy manner of a great class-cutting girlfriend, which is probably hurting her cause. She's also wearing a toe ring.

This afternoon, the cluttered kitchen is empty and quiet; for a little while, it's her solitary egg-making studio. Above her hangs an antique version of a Last Supper print, which may have been her grandmother's; another, plainer Last Supper hangs on another soffit. (Toward the end of his life, Andy did a Last Supper series.) Around her neck hangs a gold, three-barred Slav-Byzantine cross.

From Julia and from her own mother Ann, who's also Carpatho-Rusyn, Maddy and many of the other Warholas (including Andy) learned pysanky, the Eastern European egg-decorating art. Once, says Mary Lou, she and her older sister Eve were making eggs with Bubba at their Uncle Andy's, and the hot wax caught on fire. "It must have been a big one, because there was soot on the ceiling," she remembers. Andy's reaction was not particularly calm: "He was high-strung." Although the family usually decorated eggs at Easter, they're traditionally given for many other holidays and occasions, with particular meanings for each color and design.

Maddy's egg set-up is nothing more than an old vinyl stool next to the kitchen stove, and a Mason jar full of pencils with straight pins of a variety of sizes stuck into the erasers. Maddy selects two smooth, emptied-out goose eggs. She's experimented with all kinds of eggs, and is currently hunting for a local supplier of ostrich eggs, which she now buys from time to time on eBay if the price is right. (One of her decorated ostrich eggs almost sold for $1,000, but the deal fell through.)

"Here's the wax," she says, using one hand to break a thick beeswax disk into fourths. A few chunks go into a shallow pan, along with a peeled black Crayola crayon. "I've always used just white and black; that's like my signature," she says.

While she waits for the wax to heat, she pokes her cigarette into the blue flame under the pan, takes a puff and balances it in an ashtray. "The wax's gotta be smoking just a little bit. Mary Lou doesn't like it to smoke, but I, I don't know, I think the wax flows better."

As black wax begins to steam like a little pot of oil, Maddy settles herself onto the stool. "Now what should I make?"

She takes a pencil, dips the pin, and places dots at the top and bottom of the empty egg. "You can tell I'm a little shaky, I had two cups of coffee this morning," she says, anchoring her hand on the egg's surface with her pinkie. From there, she works with little dot-and-tail comet-shaped strokes. Head-to-head, tail-to-tail, fan patterns, neat rows like bundles of sticks, tidy lines of dots.

"What do I do next? I don't know! Oh, maybe another set of dots. It's just where my mind's at. Not one egg's the same. Even if you tried to do the same design on two eggs, it's impossible." Just as all of Andy's screen-printed repetitions were different, even as their slight variations gave meaning to the theme. "I don't know why I can do this, it's a knack, you just have an eye for it," she says. "Same with my silk screens. Some people take 10 minutes to line it up. No, just put it on there and eyeball it! Same with the egg."

She begins a set of teardrops around the egg's equator. "Always keep your eye on the center. See? You can just hear the scrape on the egg. And you gotta change your pin regularly," she says, because the pinheads get worn down on the eggshell. "I don't know if it's folklore, but in Slovakia, they'd give eggs for every occasion, for a wedding or even on people's graves. We used to do them only at Easter, but now I do them year-round.

"I like to fill the whole egg. My sister, Mary Lou, she likes hers more simple. And she colors all hers, but I like mine black and white." Mary Lou's eggs, some of which Maddy has on hand, are dyed in pure, almost translucent color, with understated white patterns where the wax strokes have been patiently melted off.

Maddy's designs are not calm, patient or pure. Filling nearly every available surface with beady black wax gives Maddy's egg an amped-up intensity. Rather than gently ornamenting the egg as it sits, her fan-shaped groupings of comma-strokes seem to cascade around the surface with a careening momentum. And the dots aren't tidy pointillism, but a staccato beat. It seems typical of Maddy's own seemingly scattered, but highly intuitive, non-stop talk and movement. "I like it to be all of a part," she says. "I like 'em to flow.

"You don't think about nothing," she continues happily, chatting along as the inky wax cools and hardens and the pin scrapes a steady rhythm beneath her voice. "It relaxes you. You don't think about nothing but your design."

MARTY (nephew)
The other Warhola scrap business on the North Side is the original Paul Warhola Scrap Metals, Inc., now owned by Paul's youngest son Marty. "I'll always keep my dad's name up there," he says. Founded in the early 1990s, Georgie's is actually the second of the two. (The two brothers were once in business together, but split up.)

Despite the characteristic Warhola love of stuff, the brothers' personality differences are obvious. One might think that anything called a "junkyard" is naturally messy and chaotic. However, George's has a certain no-nonsense functionality, a natural order of scrap. Which is not to say that Marty's is disorganized -- like George, he has a big box for copper, another for stainless steel, others for aluminum, and so on. But there's a lot more stuff lying around that doesn't really go anywhere yet, stuff that needs to be broken down or sorted. Depending on the mood of the moment, all this can look like creative clutter, exuberant entrepreneurism & or like the time the Cat in the Hat came over.

More than the junk, however, Marty's many comers and goers give the place a fun, chaotic feel. Only one of these guys -- John Burke, a man with chocolate skin and very pale blue eyes -- is actually paid to work there, and his employment dates from when Paul owned the place. "I didn't really enjoy working here before, but now that I'm retired, it's nice," he comments. Burke's "retirement" lasted a few months until he got bored and returned to work; he and the others are a lot like a Warhol Factory crew -- or Fat Albert's gang -- and seem to just naturally enjoy a junkyard.

Al is one of the guys: "Want a cocktail?" he offers leeringly, holding out a Bacardi-scented concoction in a green plastic cup. He says he likes to hang around because it's "good rootin'" for cool junk.

Another is named Paul, just like the original owner. He's skinny and blonde with long curls in back; he wears sickly green surgical scrubs and worn work boots. He's one of the few today who can be witnessed working. In this case, he's taking a blowtorch to some old florescent shop lights.

Finally, there's Big Mike, who's sort of taken over the cashier's job. This worries the other Warholas, who believe that Marty himself should handle the money, but Marty claims Mike's a savant. Indeed, Mike isn't much to look at, but he can whip up payout figures quicker than most people can remember their children's names. He keeps the tally with big, angular figures in pencil, elegantly written down directly on Marty's desk pad.

The most distinctive feature of the yard is its great murals, done in a street-racer airbrush style that's one step fancier than graffiti, all the way up the 20-foot high corrugated-steel walls. Cars, faces, women. Marty can't remember the name of the North Side kid he paid to do them: "Matt? Mike? I've got it down somewhere. He used to hang around here," Marty says, as if that narrows it down.

Among Matt/Mike's murals, a piece of Marty's own hangs from the ceiling, a huge canvas screen-printed banner, with three images of his uncle, repeated from left to right. Under each Andy is a dollar figure, increasing by a few zeroes with each nearly identical portrait. "Oh, yeah," Marty recalls, as if noticing the piece again after a long time. "That shows how my uncle was worth more and more." The canvas, as it sways from the high rafters, is actually pretty ragged around the edges. "Oh, we burned it," he adds nonchalantly, "to show nothing lasts forever."

On the back wall, not as noticeable behind hulking piles of metal scrap, hovers an image on which Marty's mysterious artist branched out from his usual style. Instead of swoopy, angry cars in reds and blacks, he switched to lighter colors and maybe even gave the spray nozzle a lighter touch. With Old-World flowers and curlicues, he's imitated Julia's famous script, in just the style she used to sign Andy's drawings for him. "Warhola," the kid wrote carefully, arched just behind the baling machine.

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