Jean Michel Basquiat was a genius. He not only was a Neo-Expressionist in the 1980's but he was a creative marketing genius and a king among kings. He was able to create revolutionary work in his short span of only 27 years. He changed the art world. Love his work or hate it, he was far vast beyond his years and his artistic contribution to the art world is still felt.
Born December 22, 1980 in Brooklyn, New York (http://www.biography.com/people/jean-michel-basquiat-185851) Basquiat began as a graffiti artist named SAMO. SAMO began to mark the walls of the Streets of New York- as graffiti poetry with Al Diaz as a collaborative installation pieces. It was very clear that this tactic helped launch Basquiat's career and raise awareness on the street. He also started a band named Gray. Gray was ahead of its time exploring electronic music and sounds for the underground culture that Basquiat was apart of.
He then began exhibiting in 1980. He is launched into the art scene and in 1981 appeared in ArtForm magazine on the cover proclaimed as the "Radiant Child."
His paintings began to evolve from small pieces of paper into large canvas that demanded presence. He was soon selling his work for 100,000. And exhibiting all over the world. There is a peacefulness about his work despite all of the choas.
In the mid 1980's Basquiat collaborated with Andy Warhol, resulting a show of their work that featured a series of corporate logos and cartoon characters. It had mixed reviews.
Basquiat's fascination with stardom and "burning out" is a recurring subject in his life
( Basquiat.com) In his quest for success he became addicted to heroin and died of an overdose on August 12, 1988 but his legacy lives on through his work- like a king.
I stumbled across this documentary in a quest to find more information about Basquiat. I loved the symbolic nature of his paintings in a child like manner- they are free and loose. Full of color and line exploration- full of passion and love. I love his obsession with crowns of visually representing a way of marking himself as noble as a king, to become king of the pack. I think as artists and designers we are consequently searching for those symbols that will represent our nobility or our sense of being important. For me it has become the circle.