Sunday, September 18, 2011

Artist Post: Jean Michel Basquiat

Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was an American artist whose work consisted of, "...a busy style mixing many words and images, often done on intentionally primitive handmade stretchers" (Basquiat). His unique style in painting and drawing made him a "overnight star" in the New York art scene in the 80's (Jean Michel). He is also know for his strong friendship with fellow artist Andy Warhol which affected his artistic output throughout his later career.
Personally I love this really "diagram-ish" style of painting/drawing. It is a way for both text and images to coexist in the same frame, yet draw to their very evident differences. But I like this work because neither of the elements ever look out of place; Basquiat's sketch-like way of painting and writing provides a flow in the pieces that makes you think about where would see this type of work in the outside world. Personally, I feel that the above piece would be in some bizarre, backstreet anatomical diagram book.
Of course I think it would be fair to say that I am drawn to this artist because of similarities I see between his work and that of Cy Twombly. Both artists are using a very visually messy style that, in my opinion, makes you see the whole piece at once, and then allows you to look into certain details and gain additional meaning. After looking into Basquiat's work I really want to try to work on incorporating drawing and writing in my work in a more uniform manner. I want to try this in the future because I feel that sometimes when I try using writing/drawing on top of photographs, it sometimes comes out as disjointed or two dissimilar, and I would worry about how it looks in the end. But if my whole piece has a same style from the beginning (a la Basquiat) then the work would look like something completely different.

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