Jean-Michel Basquiat Was A Neo-expressionist Artist Who Started With Street Art And Graffiti

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Jean-Michel Basquiat was a neo-expressionist artist. His art work had a very primitive look to some of them. His inspirations varied on the pieces. He lived a very action packed life. With his mother being institutionalized when he was 13, a car hitting him at 7, and him and Madonna being together.

In his early life, he watched cartoons with his mom which is where he got a lot of his ideas when he was younger. His mom was always encouraging him and taking him to art museums. He had two younger sisters and an older brother. His older brother sadly died before he was born. When he was seven his parents got divorced and he was hit by a car. He had a broken leg his spleen was taken out. His mom came to visit him and read him Gray Anatomy. He ran away from home, lived on the streets, and got into drugs. At 13 his mother had been institutionalized by his father for unknown reasons. His father had full custody of all the children.

He was a high school dropout. He went until his sophomore year. He and his friend started out as a graffiti duo named SAMO. They strategically went and put their graffiti on walls near art museums to hopefully get discovered. When they had a falling out that never was going to be fixed SAMO is dead appeared on a wall where they usually did their spray painting.

HE also co-founded a band called Gray. They weren’t very well known. His painting was taking off; he was being recognized as an artist. It helps that he is fluent in English, Spanish, and French and can go off and show his art there as well. His style of neo-expressionism is what he was known best for. He had two other styles street art and graffiti. In May of 2017 one of his works “Untitled” sold for 110.5 million dollars. He had a theme with naming his art 12 works were called untitled or untitled () that I know of. He had 6 named self-portrait. His father and others where part of a group until 2015 that went out and looked to see if they could authenticate paintings and other sketches that he did. However, his drug addiction got the best of him and he overdosed on heroine on August 12, 1988.

There are many reasons Jean-Michel was an amazing artist. He went through so much at such a young age and he still had a great life. He dated Madonna before she got big and said she was going to be big, his art is well recognized, and he had more than just one talent. He was an incredible artist who was extremely talented.


Plagens, Peter, and Farai Chideya. “Painter in the Fast Lane.” Newsweek, vol. 120, no. 19, Nov. 1992, p. 67. EBSCOhost,,cookie,cpid&custid=nebstlib&db=f6h&AN=9211093222.
Gaines, Jena. “Famous Haitian Americans/Canadians.” Haitian Immigration, Oct. 2003, p. 30. EBSCOhost,,cookie,cpid&custid=nebstlib&db=pwh&AN=12183018.
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