The Radiant Child (Jean-Michel Basquiat):
“A Basquiat Sells for ‘Mind-Blowing’ $110.5 Million at Auction” was the recent headline from the New York Times. And then:
“Joining the rarefied $100 million-plus club in a salesroom punctuated by periodic gasps from the crowd, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s powerful 1982 painting of a skull brought $110.5 million at Sotheby’s, to become the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction. ” – New York Times
Having just read this, and being a fan of Basquiat’s work myself I felt it very apropos to opine on his work, and how his work has influenced my own (as I’ve done several homage pieces including the “Star Wars” Basquiat Pop Series.)
To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I saw the works of Basquiat? What I remember is it having an impact on me when I began taking my art from the digital world to my first aerosol painting (my first paint medium of choice.)
I’ll be honest, initially, and while I had very little knowledge of the “Art World”, I was a little apprehensive to appreciate his work. Quite frankly, I didn’t get it. It was that whole “A F***in’ child could do this!” Mentality. Well, in some ways, it was the work of a child. . . “The Radiant child.”
As I continued painting, and studying the works of the great Pop and Street Artists, invariably Basquiat continually popped up. I watched his documentaries. I saw him with Warhol, and Keith Haring, Madonna, and on. . . .
Admittedly, and probably not unlike most on this planet, I was easily and instantly seduced by the works of Andy Warhol. His style was remarkable, and, in particular, I was a bit obsessed with how he revolutionized the FINE ART world with his mass production and silk screen paintings.
Basquiat, on the contrary was an acquired taste. Kind of like the first time I tried Sushi. The thought was initially less than positive, but eventually, I came around.
As I began looking at his paintings, I noticed just how much (or little) was on the canvas. No matter the case, I was always left with a “feeling.” Feeling something. A lot of times it was hard to put my finger on what that feeling was. One thing that became increasingly undeniable was how well he used color as a weapon. He broke rules. Quite frankly, with Basquiat, there were no rules. This, was when I really started to appreciate his work.
Read the full post by Surj the Artist here