Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist whose claim to fame was based on his incredible contribution to Neo-Expressionism. The fact that impresses me the most about the artist is that he was often referred to as “the black Picasso of American Art” (Kukje Gallery, 2013, p. 2). By the age of 11, he was fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and when he was only 17, he left his parents’ house. Another impressive fact about the idiosyncratic artist is that he collaborated with Andy Warhol (Artnet, n.d.).
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Basquiat was also famous for his extravagant spending habits. In addition, he was involved in a romantic relationship with Madonna and produced a hip-hop record. The artist’s works were rejected by the Museum of Modern Art. Basquiat’s untimely death at the age of 27 is another striking fact that stands out for me in his biography (Fretz, 2010).
The American artist’s signature painting style, which he had developed by the age of 20, is the most enthralling feature of his art. I have also been impressed by his use of recurring themes as a strategy for enhancing storytelling. The artist’s ability to establish a dialogue with his African-Caribbean heritage through the medium of canvas graffiti is also outstanding. The idea of the SAMO project has made a lasting impact on my consciousness (AnOther, 2015).
As an example of the increasing recognition and appreciation of his skill, Basquiat’s work Untitled recently sold for $110.5 million (Pogrebin, 2017). Many of his works were inspired by Gray’s Anatomy, and he liked to work on many surfaces, ranging from canvas to typewriters. His artwork conveyed numerous hip-hop themes. It is hard not to appreciate the vivid grittiness of his works, turning candid strokes of a brush into real stories. Finally, the mind-body dualism that is inherent in his art makes Basquiat’s legacy a worthy research subject.
AnOther. (2015). Ten things you might not know about Basquiat.
Artnet. (n.d.). Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Fretz, E. (2010). Jean-Michel Basquiat: A biography. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
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Kukje Gallery. (2013). Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Pogrebin, R. (2017). A Basquiat sells for ‘mind-blowing’ $110.5 million at auction. The New York Times.