Basquiat a creative genius!

Basquiat a creative genius!

In today's post, I want to tell you all about another famous street artist. You might be realizing that street art has become a new commodity. Many of the famous artists on the street art world moved on to gallery shows and Jean Michel Basquiat is no exception. He was living on the streets and within the course of two years he became a really famous artist, everyone wanted to be around him. This young artist went from being a street artist to having international presence exhibiting in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. How did it all happen? keep reading to find out. 

In 1960 Jean Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, at a young age, Basquiat started drawing and his inspiration came from TV cartoons. His mother also liked drawing and sometimes they drew together, other times they would go to museums such as MET, MOMA, Brooklyn Museum. He said, "I'd say my mother gave me all the primary things, the art came from her." In 1968 while playing ball in the street Basquiat was hit by a car, he broke his arm, suffered internal injuries and had his spleen removed. He remained in the hospital for a month, while being in recovery his mom gave him a book titled "Gray's Anatomy" that book influenced Basquiat's way of doing art. 

In 1978 Basquiat's parents had been divorced for many years now, and he decided it was time to live on his own so he moved out and started sleeping over at friends' houses. Later on, Basquiat and his girlfriend Alexis Adler moved into a small apartment together. Basquiat would draw on anything he could get his hands on, so at home, he was drawing on the fridge, walls, card boxes, and doors.  Can you imagine living with someone like Basquiat?  you would have to avoid stepping on his drawing on your way out. Basquiat need to draw went beyond his apartment's walls. He was also spray painting on the streets signing as SAMO (same old shit.) Moreover, he started this project, collaborating with Al Diaz as a way "of letting off steam." These graffitis started generating interest around New Yorkers. So Philip Faflick wrote an article in The Village Voice, about Al and Basquiat. Shortly after this article, Al and Basquiat had a fallen out, so people started seeing on the Soho walls the phrase "SAMO is dead."

He started selling hand-painted postcards and T-shirts to make some money as he needed to pay the bills. One day he was out on the streets selling and he sees Andy Warhol with Henry Geldzahler at a restaurant in Soho, Basquiat approaches them and he ends up selling a postcard to Warhol. Little did he know that he would become friends with Warhol and even expose alongside him as a collaborative exhibition a few years later. In 1979 Basquiat meets Diego Cortez and artist and filmmaker at the Mudd Club, Basquiat's sells many drawings and Henry Geldzahler becomes an early collector of his work. 

In 1981 Basquiat participated in a group exhibition called New York/ New Wave with twenty other artists, including Keith Haring, Basquiat's artworks stood out. "What was unique about him at that particular time in the 80s was the way he combined sources from popular culture with sources from the history of art and literature." If we look at Basquiat's artworks we can see he has a clear influence from Picasso, how he doesn't want to paint a proportionate person, his art is more child-like what in art we call primitivism. His artworks have a lot of energy, he uses vibrant colors, usually, he adds text to his canvas, also some of his art is in response to artists from the past. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci who he admired greatly. Leonardo Da Vinci's greatest hits image Furthermore, he wasn't shy to talk about oppression and identity. 

On August 12, Basquiat is found dead in his apartment at the age of twenty-seven. The autopsy reports said he died of an overdose. Basquiat left us thousands of paintings, drawings along with some sculptures, poetry, and music. Moreover, he used to perform in a band called Gray, like the anatomy book his mom gave him. Later on, he quits the band to be painting full time. While painting he would listen to jazz as his dad loved jazz and he grew up listening to it. In less than a decade, he left us a legacy, his artworks can be seen at the MOMA, Soho Contemporary Art in New York, MACBA in Barcelona, The Broad in Los Angeles, The Daros Collection in Zurich and Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg. 

I hope you really liked it and fell in love with Basquiat's energy, there is A LOT to say about him so if you want to learn more under sources I left you many links that include videos, documentaries, and articles about his life and art. 



Jean Michel Basquiat Documentary

Basquiat's timeline

Chaotic Brilliance of Basquiat

Debunking Basquiat's Myths

Video of the Gray band

Where to see Basquiat's artworks

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