A renowned painter, draftsman, poet, musician, and graffiti artist, as well as an all-around arts icon, Jean-Michel Basquiat was at the forefront of New York’s downtown avant-garde in the late 1970s and 80s. Friend to many but known well by very few, Basquiat’s influence on subsequent generations of artists has been immense. At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school, moved out of his parents’ house, and befriended several artists (Warhol, Haring) in New York’s downtown scene. This is where he developped his artistic style and life.
Basquiat’s work is known for its primitivist motives, combining anatomical diagrams, commercial art, Black pop cultural history and figures, charged phrases and words, and representations of the body in an emotional and psychologically explosive admixture. His employment of bright colors and his vibrant line drawings brought to vibrant life on canvas his experiences in the urban landscapes.