Jean-Michel Basquiat: (1960–1988)
An artist from our generation. Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American born artist originated from the late-seventies graffiti culture of New York. Jean-Michel had a tumultuous childhood between severe injuries, his parent’s divorce, and his mother’s struggles with mental health issues, most of his life was spent hustling art on the street and tagging building in Manhattan.
In the early Eighties, he began making a name for himself. He met Andy Warhol, who became a friend and inspiration to his work. He also became well known in the New York music scene appearing in Blonde’s Rapture music video and forming his own band Test Pattern. He even hung out with Madonna. In 1985 he made the cover of the New York Times Magazine, a symbol of his skills as a fresh new artist.
Sadly, he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27.
Why I like his art: He never stayed away from his origin as a graffiti artist. You can see that in his work as he includes texts throughout his work. More importantly, much of the meaning behind his work is a juxtaposition of competing concepts. Concepts we struggle in comprehend as a society and as an individual- what divides us apart.