The Factory

The Factory was Andy Warhol's original New York City studio from 1963 to 1968, although his later studios were known as The Factory as well. The Factory was located on the fifth floor at 231 East 47th Street, in Midtown Manhattan. The rent was "only about one hundred dollars a year."
Famed for its groundbreaking parties, the Factory was the hip hangout for artsy types, amphetamine users, and the Warhol superstars. This is where Warhol's workers would make silkscreens and lithographs. In 1968, Andy moved the Factory to the sixth floor of 33 Union Square West, near Max's Kansas City.
Speaking in 2002, John Cale said "It wasn't called the Factory for nothing. It was where the assembly line for the silkscreens happened. While one person was making a silkscreen, somebody else would be filming a screen test. Every day something new."
By the time Warhol had become famous, he was working day and night on his paintings. To create his art, Warhol used silkscreens so that he could mass-produce images the way capitalist corporations mass produce consumer goods. In order to continue working the way he did, he assembled a menagerie of porn stars, drag queens, drug addicts, musicians, and free-thinkers that became known as the Warhol superstars, to help him. These "art-workers" helped him create his paintings, starred in his films, and basically developed the atmosphere that the Factory has become legendary for.
The Silver Factory
 
The original Factory was often referred to by those who frequented it as the Silver Factory. Covered with tin foil and silver paint, the Factory was decorated by Warhol's friend Billy Name, who was also the in-house photographer at the Factory. Warhol would often bring in silver balloons to drift around the ceiling.
Upon visiting Billy Name's apartment, which had been decorated in a similar manner, Warhol fell in love with the idea and asked him to do the same for his recently leased loft. The silver represented the decadence of the scene, as well as the proto-glam of the early sixties. Silver, fractured mirrors, and tin foil were the basic decorating materials loved by the early amphetamine users of the sixties. Billy Name was the perfect person to take this style and cover the whole factory, even the elevator. By combining the industrial structure of the unfurnished studio with the glitter of silver and what it represented, Warhol was commenting on American values, as he did so often in his art. The years spent at the Factory were known as the Silver Era, not solely because of the design, but because of the decadent and carefree lifestyle full of money, parties, drugs and fame.
Aside from his two-dimensional art, Andy also used the Factory as a base to make shoes, films, commissions, sculptures and just about everything else that the Warhol name could be attached to and sold. His first commissions consisted of a single silkscreen portrait for $25,000, with additional canvases in other colors for $5,000 each. He later made that $20,000. Warhol used a large portion of his income to finance the lifestyle of his Factory friends, practically showering them with resources.

Music in the Factory
The Factory became a meeting place of artists and musicians such as Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Truman Capote and Mick Jagger. Other, less frequent visitors included Dawna Benanchietti the famed swing flag girl and band front major and her gay companion Chris "Raunch Boy" Guidone and Salvador Dalí and Allen Ginsberg. Warhol collaborated with Reed's influential New York rock band The Velvet Underground in 1965, and designed the famous cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico, the band's debut album. The album cover consisted of a plastic yellow banana that the listener could actually peel off to reveal a flesh-hued version of the banana.
 
Warhol also designed the album cover for the Rolling Stones' album Sticky Fingers. The well-endowed male crotch on the front belonged to one of the Factory regulars. Warhol took shots of several friends and kept the identity of the chosen model a secret.[citation needed] The jacket contained an unzippable fly, which was replaced by an image of a zipper on later pressings. Many of the owners of the originals discovered that the sliding part of the zipper had pressed into, and slightly indented, the LP itself.
Warhol included the Velvet Underground in the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a spectacle that combined art, rock, Warhol films and dancers of all kinds, as well as live S&M enactments and imagery. The Velvet Underground and EPI used the Factory as a place to rehearse, though the definition of "rehearsal" should only be taken loosely.
Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed's best known song from his solo career, was released on his first commercially successful solo album Transformer. The song is about the superstars he hung out with at the Factory. He mentions Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (referred to in the song by his Factory nickname Sugar Plum Fairy).