I saw a random article on Huffington Post about my absolute favorite artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat last week, and I just could not, in my right mind, not share this with you all. Do you know who Jean-Michel Basquiat is? He was callled a “graffiti artist” for a long time, but call him what you want – his work is moving and awesome to me. Unfortunately he had this intimate relationship with heroin, and lost his life to the beast at 27 – but his work lives on.
I always wonder what the world would be like if people like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, and other artists dead before their times were up were still here to change the world of art and music. From the HuffPost article:
Basquiat jumped into Manhattan’s fertile downtown art & club scene in the late 1970s, at first surviving by selling his images on postcards and T-shirts. Meanwhile he conjured a droll and recognizable street identity, SAMO, that raised the dialogue of street artists from I Was Here to the kind of ongoing piss-on-authority satire that made Banksy and his ilk possible. Meeting Warhol was almost unavoidable in that hothouse moment, and their friendship grew into collaboration (one more appreciated in retrospect than at the time). The meteoric fame and the inevitable drugs finally made Basquiat a poster child for the toll of premature success, but Davis’ film covers every aspect of his life and work along the way: music, black identity, class-shifting, love life, club culture, his child-like nature, his premonitions of death. It is a loving tribute to a raucous time and an indelible talent.
You have to take a few minutes to watch this video – Tamra Davis apparently had some Jean-Michel Basquiat footage in a drawer somewhere and drug it out – and it’s pretty excellent: