Jean Michel Basquiat Facts
Born as: "Jean Michel Basquiat"
Basquiat was born on: 22nd of December, 1960
Born at: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Basquiat Died: 12th of August, 1988
Jean-Michel Basquiat was a famous graffiti artist
in New York during the late 20th century. He is
best known for his collaboration with another artist,
Al Diaz, and his character Samo who sold fake religion.
Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn,
NY to Gerard, a native Haitian, and Matilde Basquiat,
a Puetro Rican. His mother encouraged Basquiat's
artistic interests at an early age, taking him
on regular trips to local art museums in New York
including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the
Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum Of Modern Art
began rebelling against school at an early age.
Many believe that his intellectual pursuits of
the arts made him feel above the system. Basquiat
continued to rebel against discipline and left
the public school system at the age of 17 in 1978.
At the same time he also left home to dedicate
his life to social and political commentary through
his art. He and fellow classmate and friend, Al
Diaz began a graffiti campaign in lower Manhattan.
It was during this time that Basquiat began using
the image of a character named Samo, short for
"same ol' shit."
of focusing on visual arts like most graffiti
artists, Jean Michel Basquiat mixed poetic social
dialog into his artwork. Although his public art
remained anonymous for some time, it began to
attract attention from members of the community
and Basquait began selling some of his artwork
on street corners and at clubs, later selling
work directly to MOMA.
1980, after a disagreement with Diaz, Basquait
killed Samo, his alter ego. International art
dealers began to take notice and started featuring
his work in shows throughout the world. In the
spring of 1981, a SoHo art dealer by the name
of Annina Nosei gave Basquait basement space to
do his work, often selling pieces before they
began purchasing expensive suits and hosting elaborate
dinners, building an extravagant lifestyle around
the pursuit of fame. For a brief period Basquait
befriended Andy Warhol and followed him both artistically
and socially. But after 1985, Basquait's work
suffered and he blamed it on his association with
the artist. It took two years before Basquait
wanted to show his work again.
1984, many of Basquait's friends were concerned
about his excessive drug use and his change of
subjects within his art. On August 12, 1988 Jean
Michel Basquiat overdosed on a combination of
heroin and cocaine and died. His life was potrayed
in the film Basquait released after his death.
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