Uncle Andy's, A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol, is an award-winning children's book written and illustrated by his nephew, James Warhola. If anyone wonders what it may have been like to have a famous artist as an uncle and to get a peak into Warhol's home life in the 1960's, then this is the book. It was released by Putnam Publishing in 2003 and won the prestigious International Reading Association's Award for Best Children's Non-Fiction Picture Book of the following year.
The story recounts from James's memory, one of his family's visits to his uncle's house in New York City during the summer of 1962. It was Warhol's most important breakout year, when he introduced the world to his Campbell's Soup Can portrait.
The book also shows two lifestyles that couldn't be more different. Paul, who is Andy's oldest brother works as a junkman, has seven kids and lives in the countryside outside of Pittsburgh. Andy, living with his mother and 25 cats named Sam, is a very successful artist who owns his own townhouse in New York City. One day, Paul and his family load up the old station wagon, drive several hours and show up unannounced at Andy's doorstep. According to James, this is nothing unusual since Uncle Andy and Bubba, his grandmother "just love surprises." Through James's seven-year-old eyes, the reader gets a unique viewpoint of the Pop Art world of Andy Warhol. He describes the house as a giant amusement park full of carousel horses, antiques and all kinds of 'neat' art.
Andy, Mary Lou and James in 1963.
James Warhola wanted to accomplish two things through his book, Uncle Andy’s. First, to show a side of Andy Warhol that few people realized and second, to convey an important message that he had learned early on and that is, 'That art can be anything and is all around us all of the time.'
James Warhola continues to write and illustrate books for children in the Hudson River Valley area of upstate New York.
Birthday card by James, age 7,
from the Andy Warhol Museum