Background History • Jean Michel Basquiat was born December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn (NYC) and became an amazing American Artist in the 70’s and 80’s. He became very well known for his graffiti in New York City then started a different approach with his artwork with a very 1980’s Neo-Expressionism look but always continued his street artwork. Still to this day his paintings are very influential for new young artists. He is overall a World Wide Artist in history.
Basquiat’s mother, Matilde, was Puerto Rican and his father, Gerard Jean Baptiste, was part of the Haitian origin. When Jean was growing up in 1977 he started putting up his artwork on destroyed Buildings in lower Manhattan When he was seventeen Years old. He wrote “SAMO” for his Graffiti name. He wrote many quotes that stated his beliefs about government corruption and humanitarian issues. Growing Up
Career Basquiat dropped out of Edward R. Murrow High School when he was in 11th grade and left home to live with his friends in downtown Manhattan. Many times he was homeless and created T-shirts and postcards as a way of making money. He was also a musician and in a band called ‘Grey’. But in 1979 his artwork was ‘discovered’ by a famous New York art critic.
Art Shows Basquiat rose to success very quickly. No one had seen art quite like his before. It was new, fresh and honest. His passion for his work was obvious. His is work is called Neo-expressionist because of its expressive brushwork and use of abstracted images.
Warhol & Basquiat In 1982 Basquiat became friends with well known pop artist Andy Warhol and they made a number of collaborative works together. The both of them influenced each others art work. It wasn't until Andy Warhol’s death in 1987 was when their relationship ended. There are some who believe Warhol’s death was a “turning point for Basquiat…his drug addiction and depression began to spiral.”
Collaborations Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat created a number of art pieces together and inspired plenty of others to collaborate with other artists. They were a great pair in the Art Industry in New York City during the 80’s.
His Way of Art Every artist has a different message they are trying share. It is the viewers who then have to try to understand the artists language and theme. Jean Michel Basquiat used his artwork to express his interests with popular culture, oppression, class struggles, corruption and so on.
His Way of Art Lots of images with historical figures, skeletons, police, and the many abstract cartoon characters from his imaginations' brought to all of his works. He had a very defined style which is one of the reasons he became so well known and famous for his art. He will always be in art history books for modern and contemporary artists so the world has no choice but to continue to keep Basquiat’s name in the modern day world.
Art Sold During his life, Basquiats work usually sold in the tens of thousands of dollars. After his death his work is worth much more….(as is the case with most artists) On May 14th 2002 the large piece measuring 86.5” by 157.5”, owned by Lars Ulrich was put up for auction and was sold for $5,509,500.
Different Styles Basquiat has a very unique sense of style about him; he was driven with colors and textures. He mainly did mixed media pieces that were collaged, drawn, and painted & finger painted that showed the world a new way to create art in a very street art ‘graffiti’ look.
Drug Use Prior to his fame, Basquiat had developed a excessive heroin habit which started when he was living among the junkies and street artists in New York City’s underground. Just as his career was taking off, and was one of the most famous artists in the world, Jean Michel Basquiat died from mixing cocaine and heroin and overdosed August 12,1988.
Basquiat’s Quotes "Every single line means something."
Basquiat’s Quotes "Believe it or not, I can actually draw."
Basquiat’s Quotes "I don't think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life."
Jean Michel Basquiat December 22, 1960 - August 12,1988