Black Realstory Series: Jean Michel-Basquiat
***Drop everything if you do not know of Jean-Michel Basquiat**
Jean-Michel Basquiat passed away in 1988 at just 27 years old, yet he is currently the highest-selling American artist in the world. Jayz raps about him regularly. Kanye West and Swizz Beatz regularly reference him. The brand, Coach, has a line out right now with his art covering handbags, shirts, and trench coats.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was envied by Keith Haring and close friends with Andy Warhol...Do you know of him?
There is still controversy in the art world about what makes his art great. He was a gifted artist, yet his paintings often look like scribbles painted over other scribbles...But, are they scribbles?
Basquiat put his art in people's faces by using the tag "SAMO" (Which meant Same Old Sh*t) with a friend and painting graffiti art close to museums so that people "in the art world" would have to see it....and they did.
People who knew Basquiat spoke to his desire not to suddenly become a celebrity, to put art everywhere to express himself as a Black man and to symbolize what was really happening in the world. As he continued to sell more and more, there were demands to paint what others wanted, but he refused to change.
If there is anything that you can take from Basquiat, let it be this... Be you...always and let people see you. Allow yourself to be seen and never let the world demand you to be anything other than who you are.
If your child can identify a Picasso... they need to know a Basquiat when they see it.