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Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a famous twentieth century Haitian-American artist. He earned his reputation being part of an informal graffiti group called SAMO. He drew graffiti and wrote enigmatic epigrams in the lower east side of Manhattan known as a cultural hotbed. Later in his career he earned a name for himself by exhibiting his Neo-expressionist and Primitivist paintings in galleries and museums around the world. His art was concerned with ‘suggestive dichotomies’ such as wealth versus poverty.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His mother of Puerto Rican descent, Matilde Basquiat, helped him develop love of art when she took him to visit art museums. Also he was enrolled at the Brooklyn Museum of Art as a junior member. Basquiat was a child prodigy and from an early age of four he displayed a precocious talent for art. His mother and teachers were aware of his artistic gift and encouraged him to perfect his skills. At the age of 11, he mastered reading, writing and speaking skills in three different languages including French, Spanish and English. At the age of eight, Basquiat survived a car accident and while recuperating his mother brought him Gray’s Anatomy to keep him company. Turned out the book helped him shape his artistic outlook.

Basquiat belonged to a broken and dysfunctional family. His parents were separated in his childhood and later his mother was institutionalized. When he turned 15, he ran away from home and lived on the streets before he was arrested and returned to his father. After dropping out of high school, his father threw him out of the house and thereupon he stayed with his friends and made a living out of selling T-shirts and post cards. In mid 1970s he began spray painting graffiti on building with the notorious SAMO group. Even after attaining a job at the Unique Clothing Warehouse in the art department, Basquiat continued his night shift with SAMO. However, when he became friends with Unique’s founder and The Village Voice published a

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