Jean-Michel Basquait is probably one of the most intriguing/mysterious artists to ever live. He started out as a New York graffiti artist in the 70’s, and is by far the best-known artist of his generation. Initially, Basquiat became “famous for his works, then famous for being famous, and later, famous for being infamous.” He didn’t give two shits about the art world because drugs and women were a much bigger priority for him during his lifetime.
Basquiat epitomizes Neo-Expressionism. His figures and forms are easily recognizable, yet incredibly abstract, raw and violent at the same time-a perfect reaction to minimalism. One of the reasons I like Basquait so much is because he truly never knew if he was finished with a piece or not. He was constantly adding to his works, crossing things out, painting over the entire canvas and starting completely anew. You can visibly see the layers of paint and precisely when and where he changed his mind in his works, which really adds to the child-like quality of his art.
He lived an extraordinary, yet incredibly short life, which is why it is so amazing that he created so many works in such a short amount of time. He died of a drug overdose at the age of 27. Really, there is just so much to Basquiat as an artist and as a person that I can only begin to touch the surface. I’ll let the paintings speak for themselves.
If you’re interested check out the film “Radiant Child,” an excellent documentary of Basquiat’s life. Here is the trailor: