"Chief" by Robert Loughlin
"Chief" by Robert Loughlin
Courtesy of Perihelion Arts

Tomorrow: Meet the Man Who Touched Andy Warhol

No, that isn't as lewd as it sounds -- though you really never know with Warhol. Artist, singer and one-time punk supply store owner Robert Loughlin will make an appearance at his gallery show opening from 6-11 p.m. on Friday, January 7 at Perihelion Arts, 610 E. Roosevelt St. in Phoenix. In the heyday of Warhol's Factory, the pop art king purchased tons of hand-painted chairs from Loughlin. The New York based artist is even mentioned in The Andy Warhol Diaries.

Many of Loughlin's works feature "the brute," an iconic depiction of a square-jawed man with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. The brute has been spotted stenciled on telephone poles, drawn on doors and painted on plastic packaging. It's such a recognizable image that some even claim it was the inspiration behind Kid Robot's Smorkin' Labbit vinyl toy.

Either way, we're anxious to meet the guy who caught Warhol's attention, and continues to make lighting up look cool in an era of Machiavellian anti-smoking laws. "Lost & Found: The Art and Artifacts of Robert Loughlin" runs through January 29. The artist will also appear for a Q&A session at Perihelion Arts this Saturday, January 8 from 1-3 p.m. Free admission.   

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