Let’s take a second to look at Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s 1983 painting “Beat Bop”:
It’s such an interesting work. It looks nothing like the vibrant, colorful paintings he’s known for, but if you look closely, you see its content is signature Basquiat, all about the power of black music in America, specifically the jazz he loved so much. Here’s one of the artist with a more recognizable work:
Basquiat is probably my favorite artist. I fell in love with his work when I was about 16. My mom bought me a book on the dollar table in a book store at a mall in St. Petersburg, Fl. The book shaped the course of my life. It was called Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene and it was a history of all the great bands and artists in New York during the 1970s and 1980s. It was filled with big, glossy color pictures. For a dollar! That book introduced me to the work and ideas of Basquiat, Keith Haring, Kenny Sharf, John Sex, Ann Magnuson, Klaus Nomi and so many more historic figures. It also included great stories about some of my favorite bands: the Ramones, Talking Heads, the B-52s, and music I would love later, like Patti Smith, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids.
Anyway, thanks, Mom.
And thanks, Jean-Michel.