Basquiat, Jean-Michel

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a North American artist mostly known by the work he developed in the areas of graffiti and neo-expressionism.

Basquiat was born on the 22nd December 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, in the United States of America, and he had Haitian origins on in father side and Puerto Rican on his mother side. His family was wealthy, and from an early age his mother started taking him to multiple artistic exhibitions, which helped him start develop his artistic sensibility during childhood. Jean-Michel was a very precocious child, and besides his clear inclination towards arts, he also developed a very profound and unique aesthetic sense, and learnt how to read and write at an uncommon early age. However, soon his life would take a turn for the worse, and Basquiat’s late childhood and teenage years were very unstable; his parents got divorced, and young Basquiat moved to Puerto Rico with his mother, where they lived for 2 years, after which they returned to New York. In 1973, his mother was admitted in the hospital due to psychological problems; soon after, with only 15 years, Jean-Michel ran away from home and lived in the streets of New York during a short period of time, after which he was found by the police and returned to the care of his father.

When he was on the 10th grade, Basquiat dropped out of high school, and started studying in the

City-AS-School, where the teaching techniques were more alternative and focused on the artistic area. At the same time, his relationship with his father came to a breaking point, and Jean-Michel was kicked out of his home, and went living with a group of friends; he survived with the few dollars he made selling t-shirts and postcards with his own illustrations.

In 1976, Basquiat began his artistic career that would later made him one of the most famous artists in the world. Together with his friend Al Diaz, they began painting several graffiti in New York City, under the pseudonym SAMO, the abbreviation for “Same Old Shit”. This project grabbed a lot of local attention to the innovative art work displayed, but ended up within 2 years, due to the end of the friendship between the two artists; their last work was the inscription “SAMO IS DEAD”, left on a wall in the neighborhood of SoHo.

However, shortly after, Basquiat’s career would take a big jump, when the artist was invited by the Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab) to be a part of the exhibition The Times Square Show, together with multiple well-known artists with a solid and established reputation; not only did this exhibition made Basquiat a recognized name in the artistic field, but it also gave the young artist the opportunity to meet several fellow artists, experts and connoisseurs of neo-expressionism, among which was Andy Wahrol, with whom Basquiat would end up developing a strong friendship and also some work partnerships. Basquiat’s work was also very well received by the public in general that lead to an exponential increase of the value of his pieces. In the following years, Jean-Michel Basquiat continued to be a prolific painter, always with a strong neo-expressionist vibe, and made various exhibitions, not only in the United States, but also in several countries in Europe and Africa

Despite his success, the troubled life that had begun in the first years of his life followed him along with his development, and Basquiat was an avid drug consumer, heroin addict and also shown strong symptoms of severe depression; on the 12th August 1988, Jean-Michel Basquiat died from a heroin overdose in his studio in Manhattan, with only 27 years.

Nevertheless, Basquiat left a great legacy of art work and a strong impression in contemporary art; his work evoked his African American and Latin roots, with references to slavery, racism and repression. The combined use of different materials, given the canvas unexpected textures, and the characteristic games with words, numbers, logos, symbols and diagrams, together with strong and bright colors, make Basquiat’s work unique and easily recognizable, making him one of the most important contemporary artists. Nowadays, his paintings are still exhibited in various countries throughout the world, and some of his works are appraised and sold by millions of dollars.

258 Visualizações 1 Total
258 Visualizações

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