Collector’s Choice: Jean Michel Basquiat


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QUICK FACTS

NAME
Jean-Michel Basquiat
OCCUPATION
Painter
BIRTH DATE
December 22, 1960
DEATH DATE
August 12, 1988
PLACE OF BIRTH
Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH
New York, New York
NICKNAME
“SAMO”

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Neo-Expressionist painter in the 1980s. He is best known for his primitive style and his collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol.

Synopsis

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York. He first attracted attention for his graffiti under the name “SAMO” in New York City. He sold sweatshirts and postcards featuring his artwork on the streets before his painting career took off. He collaborated with Andy Warhol in the mid-1980s, which resulted in a show of their work. Basquiat died on August 12, 1988, in New York City.

 

Early Years

Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22, 1960. With a Haitian-American father and a Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat’s diverse cultural heritage was one of his many sources of inspiration.

A self-taught artist, Basquiat began drawing at an early age on sheets of paper his father, an accountant, brought home from the office. As he delved deeper into his creative side, his mother strongly encouraged to pursue artistic talents.

Basquiat first attracted attention for his graffiti in New York City in the late 1970s, under the name “SAMO.” Working with a close friend, he tagged subway trains and Manhattan buildings with cryptic aphorisms.

In 1977, Basquiat quit high school a year before he was slated to graduate. To make ends meet, he sold sweatshirts and postcards featuring his artwork on the streets of his native New York.

Commercial Success

Three years of struggle gave way to fame in 1980, when his work was featured in a group show. His work and style received critical acclaim for the fusion of words, symbols, stick figures, and animals. Soon, his paintings came to be adored by an art loving public that had no problem paying as much as $50,000 for a Basquiat original.

His rise coincided with the emergence of a new art movement, Neo-Expressionism, ushering in a wave of new, young and experimental artists that included Julian Schnabel and Susan Rothenberg.

In the mid 1980s, Basquiat collaborated with famed pop artist Andy Warhol, which resulted in a show of their work that featured a series of corporate logos and cartoon characters.

On his own, Basquiat continued to exhibit around the country and the world. In 1986, he traveled to Africa for a show in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. That same year, the 25-year-old exhibited nearly 60 paintings at the Kestner-Gesellschaft Gallery in Hanover, Germany—becoming the youngest artist to ever showcase his work there.

Personal Problems

As his popularity soared, so did Basquiat’s personal problems. By the mid-1980s, friends became increasingly concerned by his excessive drug use. He became paranoid and isolated himself from the world around him for long stretches. Desperate to kick a heroin addiction, he left New York for Hawaii in 1988, returning a few months later and claiming to be sober.

Sadly, he wasn’t. Basquiat died of a drug overdose on August 12, 1988, in New York City. He was 27 years old. Although his art career was brief, Jean-Michel Basquiat has been credited with bringing the African-American and Latino experience in the elite art world.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Biography
Author

Biography.com Editors
Website Name

http://www.biography.com/people/jean-michel-basquiat-185851

 

 

 

Happy Halloween! The Ultimate ART DAY!


 

 

Two art students at Western Hills High School produce their Halloween interpretation of “Monster.”

watercolor-monster
Painting by Julia Martinez, Sophomore at Western Hills High School

 

 

sterling-monster
Painting by Stirling Crawford, Junior, Western Hills High School

 

 

 

sterling-mouths
Stirling speaks with his hand….
cheech-and-angel
Costume Day at Western Hills, with Cheech of Cheech and Chong, and an angel.

Monster Project:  For High School Level Students

 

Create a Monster                             Kirstein

 

Objective: Design a symbolic portrait of a “monster,” using symbols to convey the monster’s inner and outer personality, affinities and tendencies. You can use collage, pencil, colored pencil, marker or paint, and you must cover your whole sheet of paper with an environment for the monster.

 

 

Your monster does not have to be realistic or look like a person, but  it must include:

  • A monster figure, whether drawn, painted, or created with glued collage magazine pieces.

2) Use entire sheet of paper.

3) Use proportion to create a sense of the unusual and to create emphasis and balance. Create variety and harmony through the use of color, shape and value.

4) Monster needs to convery personality and the environment needs to surround it with symbols pertaining to the likes and dislikes of this monster you have created.

 

How to proceed:

Step 1: Draw your monster on a piece of 12” x 18”  white paper to formulate and brainstorm your design. On this paper, decide how the main figure will look, and how you will arrange the objects in your drawing.

Step two: Draw main figure and symbols with pencil.

Step three: Use prisma colored pencils or regular colored pencils for the color. You may also use tempra paint, water color or magic marker. Magazine collage is also encouraged. You may also glue in words that relate to the monster.

 

clown
“Clown” painted by Blaze Paul, Freshman Western Hills High School

Scale I: Focus

Project completed

Student followed directions/classroom rules

Student made effort to meet objectives and goals

Work completed on time

Effort/attitude

 

Scale II: Craftsmanship/Technique

Craftsmanship is aptitude, skill, manual dexterity in use of media and tools.

Technique is manner and skill with which the artist employs the tools/materials to

achieve the chosen effect.

Criteria:

Skillful use of media

Care taken with project

Work area cleaned daily

Media used with correct technique

Technical skill in the use of media

Visual detail (neatness)

Appropriate use of supplies and materials

Skillful and appropriate use of materials

 

Assessment:

 

4  Assignment on time; meets or exceeds all criteria.

3  Assignment on time with one criterion missing.

2  Assignment on time but has two criteria missing.

  • Assignment late or has three or four criteria missing.
  • Assignment late or has inappropriate solution to the problem, incomplete

 

lion
“Lion Monster” by Hala Jordon, Junior, Western Hills High School