A Thousand Words Are Worth A Basquiat Painting: Jean-Michel Basquiat The Humble Closeted Demon


I like to think of myself as a buff of everything; especially Art, well I was proven wrong when I learnt of the famous black artist Jean-Michel Basquiat last year.

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Basquiat in his studio 1986

Am still a buff though coz Basquiat is a name you mostly come across in those Undergraduate Art Courses and from mouths of the Art Elite suffering from mental snobbery.

Take a look at these Basquiat paintings,

Each opinion about these art paintings matters because Basquiat died without really explaining his art. Let me tell you, for all the people out there who might look at a Basquiat painting and say “Those are just childish scribbles,” it sure as heck isn’t easy to copy…. They’re actually quite complex compositions. A certain artist made an attempt (below right) to at least capture the essense of Basquiat’s work, below left, without being able to make an exact copy. Placing it side by side with the real thing, you see how good Basquiat was!

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Basquiat's left X Copy Right

Art critiques have posed hypotheses & crude empiricism trying to explain his art and I ain’t getting left behind with my original pontificates. There are two ways to theorize his work but all lead to honesty.
Basquiat was a heroin addict so he probably did some of his paintings when high, there is no honest catharsis than this – A heroin high is like a turmoil between booze thought haze and weed mind trip. Think about this on a canvas.
Basquiat had superior acculturation.. His diverse knowledge of history, his multilingual & multidimensional identity and his racial and cultural background.

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If you look at his paintings, Remotely, Fine Art is recognizable.. I guess he knew what he was doing, Not choosing to adore nature like other mainstream artists do but rather express his deepest intuitions and emotional confines through combination of colours, simple lines, repeated patterns, form and shape.

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What fascinated me about Basquiat’s paintings was his ability to appropriate the marriage of grim images and suggestive texts & writings – As if explaining his works – in search of a commercial or emotional response to his work that he couldn’t get in the black community.

Art dealers interpreted Basquiat’s ‘primitive’ style of painting as a representation of an inferior cultural tradition and origin, and for them European & Anglo American traditions of painting were superior, sophisticated and more advanced,. In this process, Basquiat was exploited and taken for granted, while the dealers in the art market made millions of dollars from his work.

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Because of his appearance with dreadlocks/ a mane, and in relation to his naive paintings, dealers saw him as ignorant and inexperienced.

Like he had some severe depression inside him wanting to be let go or a devil scratching his insides begging to be released.

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I think his therapeutic release through painting wasn’t enough so he probably chose heroin when his depression grew leading to his death through an overdose in 1988.

The global auction volume for his work was over 115 million dollars. His art is coveted because it is rare and honest.

Those philosophy douchebags classify his art as Neo-expressionism/ Primitivism., how could something ‘primitive’ get sold for 14 million USDs,.. Visually simple is better.
Basquiat’s paintings do not fit to the mainframes of -isms.

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13 Million USDs dude

Next time you see a painting with this feel, call it a Basquiat.


Twitter: @mighty_leny

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