Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Finding inspiration in Andy Warhol

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Andy Warhol is arguably one of the most quotable artists to have lived.

And although much mystery and controversy surrounds his powerful legacy, there is so much inspiration that can be drawn from his statements.

For my latest book, No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol, I created poems from Warhol’s a: A Novel, which is 451 pages of raw, unedited transcripts. These recorded conversations took place in and around Warhol’s Factory and are an intense and important document of Warhol’s scene and of Manhattan in the late ‘60s.

But I often wished Warhol had inserted himself more in the original text. Mystique, though, has become part of his legacy.

What he did commit to paper through other works and interviews, however, has never ceased to inspire me. I often reflect on Warhol quotes, especially when I need a reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing, or when I need a reminder not to stress about the little things.

Here are my Top 10 Warhol quotes in case you ever need them:

1. “Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, ‘So what.’
"My mother didn't love me." So what.
“My husband won't ball me. So what.
"I'm a success but I'm still alone." So what.
I don't know how I made it through all the years before I learned how to do that trick. It took a long time for me to learn it, but once you do, you never forget.”

2. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

3. “Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”

4. “I never fall apart, because I never fall together.”

5. “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”

6. “I think everybody should be nice to everybody.”

7. “You have to do stuff that average people don't understand because those are the only good things.”

8. “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

9. “I can never get over when you're on the beach how beautiful the sand looks and the water washes it away and straightens it up and the trees and the grass all look great. I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”

10. “If something's going to happen for you, it will, you can't make it happen. And it never does happen until you're past the point where you care whether it happens or not. I guess it's for your own good that it always happens that way, because after you stop wanting things is where having them won't make you go crazy.”

Who is your most quotable artist?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Liz Worth

Liz Worth is a Toronto-based author. Her first book, Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, was the first to give an in-depth account of Toronto’s early punk scene. She has also released a poetry collection called Amphetamine Heart and a novel called PostApoc. You can reach her at, on Facebook or Twitter.

You can contact Liz throughout the month of October at

Go to Liz Worth’s Author Page