Jean-Michel Basquiat

In my last visit to Paris last November i was lucky enough to visit Louis Vuitton Foundation and see the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The exhibition covered his entire career from 1980-1988 focusing on 120 works.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an influential African-American artist who rose to success during the 1980s. Basquiat’s paintings are largely responsible for elevating graffiti artists into the realm of the New York gallery scene., his spray-painted crowns and scribbled words, referenced everything from his Haitian and Puerto Rican heritage, to political issues, pop-culture icons, and Biblical verse. The gestural marks and expressive nature of his work not only aligned him with the street art of Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, but also the Neo-Expressionists Julian Schnabel and David Salle. “If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you’ve got to realize that influence is not influence,” he said of his process. “It’s simply someone’s idea going through my new mind.” Born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, NY, Basquiat never finished high school but developed an appreciation for art as a youth, from his many visits to the Brooklyn Museum of Art with his mother. His early work consisted of spray painting buildings and trains in downtown New York alongside his friend Al Diaz. The artist’s tag was the now infamous pseudonym SAMO. After quickly rising to fame in the early 1980s, Basquiat was befriended by many celebrities and artists, including Andy Warhol, with whom he made several collaborative works. At only 27, his troubles with fame and drug addiction led to his tragic death from an overdose on August 12, 1988 in New York, NY.

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My Take on Basquiat

After the visit I really got inspired and wanted to experiment new ways of incorporating some of my family old images into a new medium of digital work that is full of colors, text and abstract shapes.

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Figure 1
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Figure 2

Figure 1 is a picture of our archive where you can see my mom and me having a priceless moment of joy back in 1982 in London streets. I took this picture and started drawing over it with bold colors and abstracted lines and shapes inspired by Basquiat work, and added a final touch of some of my journaling texts between the shapes where I was experiencing very personal and emotional feelings as I always do in my normal morning journals pages but this time I decided to include it in my art work.

In figure 3, 4 and 5 below I followed the same technique.

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Figure 3
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Figure 4
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Figure 5

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