What else is there to say about the last art superstar of the 20th century?
Jean-Michel Basquiat was the most complete essence of the quintessential artist. Intense, Enigmatic and Brilliant with a hint of chaos all swirling in one man. Is there anything more to him than meets the eye? Or was the madness of the 80s not enough for him to bare?
The innovative nature of his artworks has always lured art lovers in. We have heard about all his mischief escapades, and many art critics have endeavoured behind his personality, trying to figure out what exactly it was about the infamous artist that captivated an entire generation of individuals worldwide.
Some people have a presence about them that is very difficult to describe. It might be their will over their destiny that’s so strong it acts like a supernova; a luminous star that burns so bright it fulfils its destiny by exploding into a black hole, an all-consuming destruction of space that catapults the beauty of its nature by revealing the essence of its being.
During just under a decade, the illustrious artist would produce some of the most profound and revealing work of his generation. Jean-Michel’s most essential skill was not entirely the artwork he produced, but rather his ability to reveal every aspect of his soul to the world. All the while still maintaining an essence of enigma and allusiveness about his life.
It is precisely this paradox of his nature that still draws people in.
For all the fodder behind some of the artworks lies a piece of his soul. When you stand in front of the work, you can feel the emotive success that captured the world. It still lives on to this day. Whether he was aware of this power remains up for debate.
In his private life, Jean- Michel was almost self-destructive, binging on the periphery of an overdose each time, and though many artists have pointed out, doing drugs was something everybody did back then. While some people only did it to seem cool and be part of the crowd, for some people, it was a way, not just to escape, but to explore a part of themselves they had been able to access.
I assume and only assume that behind Jean-Michel’s drug use laid an ability to reveal himself with more purity and complete essence than he might have imagined. Though I am not claiming that he was always on drugs when creating his work, one cannot deny it influenced his production and probably his identity as an artist.
When you reveal so much of yourself in your work, you give people the power to control your story or narrative. His success was directly linked to his identity. This was a dangerous association. Some documentaries have suggested that he was a bit timid to cope with all the pressure that came with the fame, in my view it was not so much about the fame he had a problem with but rather the idea that everyone had an opinion on his work, which must have felt like everyone had a critique on who he was.
All in all, the work stands with a stride. And that still is undeniable to comprehend. Yes, maybe any child can scribble like that, but they would be doing it with no intention as to what they want to say. That is the difference between his child-like artwork and an actual child’s work.