Inspired By - Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Dec 22-80 - Aug 12-60

I came across an old Basquiat calendar not long ago and was reminded of the great affinity I have for him.

His bold use of color combined with simplistic representational images  make his paintings extremely appealing to me.  He was also known for using words in his paintings, and he often crossed out some of the words to emphasize a point of view.  I also went through a period of writing in my paintings, but where Basquiat generally used single words and phrases, I was more prone to writing commentary.

From what I've read about him, Basquiat had a great sense of humor and was fond of jazz - particularly Miles Davis.  He was intelligent and thoughtful, and unfortunately, quite the drug addict.  He succumed to his heroin addiction and sadly died of an overdose in 1988.  I note that he would have just turned 50 this past December, and I wonder how his work would have progressed over the years.  I think I would have enjoyed hanging out with him for a day during one of the brief periods when he was off the drugs.

Basquiat Quotes:

"Believe it or not, I can actually draw."

"I am not a Black artist, I'm an artist."

"I don't listen to what art critics say.  I don't know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is."

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  1. I love this picture of Jean-Michel. I feel sad that he died so young. I think so many artists feel things so deeply, and on so many levels. I think they don't know what to do with it all and they turn to drugs & alcohol to help them cope, *sigh*. ~ Latifah

  2. I just learned recently that this photograph of Basquiat was taken by James Van Der Zee, a photographer who was part of the Harlem Renaissance. Most of the work I knew of his was done in the 1920's. I didn't know he was still active in the 1980's.