An admirer of many styles of art, Basquiat would paint with magazines and books open to inspire thought, playing jazz music in the background would trigger him to spill random thoughts and ideas on the canvas. Coming out of the 1980s punk and hip hop scene, Basquiat rose as quickly as those genres.
"I don't think about art when I'm working, I try to think about life."
The son of a Haitian father and Puertorican mother, Jean-Michel Basquiat exploded into the New York art scene as a street artist named Samo. Intelligent and raw, Basquiat came out of the downtown art scene to become recognized and admired in the international art markets. The gallery circuit loved this new style of raw expressionism. With the backing of Warhol, Basquiat became the toast of the town and grew quickly to inevitable superstardom.
Despite the appearance of rambling ideas, Basquiat skillfully and with purpose brought together a host of traditional techniques. He would use visual collage very much derived from his urban origins. Bringing the influence of African-Caribbean heritage, Basquiat created thoughts and images of bodies and faces looking like carnival masks. He reintroduced the human figure in his own distinctive fashion. Unique and unabashed, Basquiat was truly a rebel of the art scene. He worked with complex collage, abstracts, minimalism, and conceptualism.
Tragically as quickly as Basquiat meteoric rise in the art scene was, his death at his NY studio from a heroin overdose occurred when he was only twenty-seven years old. Basquiat is still celebrated today in pop culture and the art auction circle. A favorite of celebrities like Jay-Z, Basquiat's work is highly sought after. Recently he became an artist that joined the nine figure club. A painting sold to the original owner for $19 thousand was recently sold at auction for a staggering $110 million dollars. His legacy continues to shine and we will continue to look at his painting with amazement always discovering something new.