Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist. His career in art began as a graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s, and in the 1980s produced Neo-expressionistpainting.
Basquiat had a great influence on the fine art world and later on the illustration world. One only has to look at many of today’s illustrators to see his influence. The digital tools now available make the eclectic cut n’ paste style of work style of work much more accessible and easier to accomplish than when Basquiat was around. If you look at many of the surfing industry’s as well as the music industry’s work you’ll see Basquiat’s influence even today.
In June 1980, Basquiat participated in The Times Square Show, a multi-artist exhibition sponsored by Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab) and Fashion Moda. In 1981, Rene Ricard published “The Radiant Child” in Artforum magazine, which brought Basquiat to the attention of the art world.
In late 1981, he joined the Annina Nosei gallery in SoHo. By 1982, Basquiat was showing regularly alongside Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi, involved with the Neo-expressionist movement. He was represented in Los Angeles by the Larry Gagosian gallery, and throughout Europe by Bruno Bischofberger. He briefly dated then-aspiring performer Madonna in late 1982. That same year, Basquiat also worked briefly with musician and artist David Bowie. Basquiat painted in Armani suits, and often appeared in public in the same paint-splattered $1,000 suits
By 1986, Basquiat had left the Annina Nosei gallery, and was showing in the famous Mary Boone gallery in SoHo. On February 10, 1986, he appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a feature entitled “New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist”. He was a successful artist in this period, but his growing heroin addiction began to interfere with his personal relationships.
When Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987, Basquiat became increasingly isolated, and his heroin addiction and depression grew more severe.Despite an attempt at sobriety during a trip to Maui, Hawaii, Basquiat died on August 12, 1988, of a heroin overdose at his art studio in Great Jones Street in New York City’s NoHo neighborhood. He was 27.