Clip Art was invented by Andy Warhol in the late 1980s.
Originally intended by the artist to further recognition of the growing disposability of art, numerous ignorant computer graphics designers used Warhol’s diverse pixelated imagery to serve functional purposes.
Warhol was furious and attempted to sue anyone who used his works, but as the internet came into being and most early sites were comprised exclusively of Clip Art, Warhol found himself in a reverse class-action suit in which his lawyers faced over 30,000 defendants. The case was thrown out. The frustration famously turned Warhol’s hair white, and he died of stress in 1987.
Clip Art remains in use today, including many works created by other artists since Warhol’s demise. Popular street artist and frequent Clip Art user Banksy (Real name Bill S. Banks) memorialized Warhol in a recent speech to students at UCLA:
“Warhol was like, oh god I’m so fucking wasted, Warhol, you see, Warhol- I- I had so much fucking quaalude I’m gonna- I’m gonna, Oh man. (Vomits) I’m sorry, I’m sorry about your shoes mate I- Warhol motherfuckers he- He was like you know? (Vomits and sneezes) I think what Warhol does anyone have any ‘ludes man? Anyone? You- You in the mortar board you down man? Ah fuck (Passes out).”