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“Portrait of Basquiat.” (36” x 48” ) Acrylic on Canvas. Kalen Y. McGuire. 2016.


Story Behind:

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an influential American artist who rose to prominence in the 1980s. He was born on December 22, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York, to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother. Basquiat's upbringing in New York City exposed him to a diverse array of cultures, languages, and artistic influences, which would later be reflected in his work.

Basquiat began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s under the pseudonym "SAMO," short for "Same Old Shit." His graffiti, characterized by bold, expressive lines and enigmatic messages, quickly gained attention in the New York art scene.

In the early 1980s, Basquiat transitioned from street art to painting on canvas, gaining recognition for his unique style that combined elements of street art, Neo-expressionism, and primitivism. His works often featured symbolic imagery, text, and references to African American culture, history, and social issues.

Basquiat's rise to fame was meteoric. By the mid-1980s, his paintings were being exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums around the world. He became known for his collaborations with other artists, including Andy Warhol, with whom he formed a close friendship and artistic partnership.

Despite his success, Basquiat struggled with drug addiction and the pressures of fame. Tragically, he passed away on August 12, 1988, at the young age of 27, from a heroin overdose. His death shocked the art world and marked the premature end of a brilliant career.

Today, Basquiat is celebrated as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His paintings continue to inspire and captivate audiences with their raw energy, social commentary, and exploration of identity. Basquiat's legacy extends beyond the art world, influencing fashion, music, and popular culture. His works have fetched record-breaking prices at auctions, cementing his status as a cultural icon.


“Portrait of Basquiat.” (36” x 48” ) Acrylic on Canvas. Kalen Y. McGuire. 2016.

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