Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger first met in 1963, when the lead singer of the Rolling Stones met the artist at a party during the band's tour. Warhol was known to be very social and a frequent partier, as was Jagger. This would set to tone for their personal and professional relationship. The two worked together for the first time on the album art for the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers in 1971. Jagger approached Warhol to design the cover for the upcoming album. The cover art for Sticky Fingers features a closeup of the crotch of a man wearing a tight fitting pair of pants. Warhol's fascination with the human body and the Stones' sex and rock n' roll image fit perfectly together and the two creators agreed to collaborate again.
This kicked off the beginning of a productive and collaborative relationship between the two artists. A few years later in 1975, Warhol printed a portfolio of ten screenprint portraits of Mick Jagger. Each one captures the singer in various expressions and poses, showcasing Jagger's famous looks and bad boy persona. The portraits feature blocks of opaque color sometimes covering parts of Jagger's face, as well as a sketched line quality to them, all hallmarks of Warhol's distinct art style. Warhol at this time was already obsessed with the idea of fame and celebrity. The Rolling Stones were hugely popular and touring around the world by this point, making Jagger a perfect subject for Warhol's artistic exploration.
In the summer of 1975, Jagger and his wife Bianca rented Warhol's Long Island home and stayed with the artist for a period of time. The three hung out together and it was during this time that Warhol shot his first photographs of Jagger, attempting to capture the man's illustrious personality. Warhol said of Jagger: "He’s androgynous enough for almost anyone. That’s always been his basic appeal, mixed with the facts that: 1 – He’s very talented; 2 – He’s very intelligent; 3 – He’s very handsome; 4 – He’s very adorable.”
Jagger also greatly admired Warhol, stating after his death: “The thing that he seemed to be able to do was to capture society, whatever part of it he wanted to portray, pretty accurately. That’s one of the things artists do, is show people later on what it was like.” The two artists held a mutual respect and love for each other that was clear to see. Both had magnetic personalities and incredible creative vision. Today, we get to enjoy the artistic fruits of their relationship through Polaroids and screenprint portraits.
The camouflage print dates to early 20th century and was originally created by artists at military request. The versatile print was effective in concealing military equipment and eventually used to create military uniforms. The camouflage began appearing in Andy Warhol’s body of work in 1986. The artist was intrigued by the all-over repetitive pattern which resembled an abstract expressionist painting. Aside from the screenprints, he created self portraits with the print covering his face, juxtaposing his public persona and his private insecurities. Warhol also collaborated with Stephen Sprouse on a clothing line using the patterns. Unfortunately, Warhol passed away in the midst of this series. This remarkable series would be his last contribution to the pop art.
The 8 screenprints came to fruition when studio assistant Jay Shriver told Warhol that he was experimenting with a new painting technique by pushing paint through military cloth. Afterwards, Shriver purchased fabric from an army surplus store near Union Station. The artist and his assistant then photographed the fabric sans its original meshing.Warhol wholly embraces a pattern that heavily associated with its utilitarian and military purpose. The prints are colored in psychedelic colors, completely altering the print’s original identity as a disguise. This playful commentary on abstraction is as widely recognized as it is distinct. The series exhibited only once at a group show in New York in 1986.