He started selling postcard paintings on these streets through his late teens and early twenties and grew to become one of the first prolific graffiti artists, under the name SAMO. Soon after, he found his way into the larger world of acclaimed art in New York City, where he developed a loyal art following.
Many recurring themes can be found in Basquiat’s library of artwork, but one of the most unique and beloved are the words that he regularly incorporated into the layers of his work.
In his paintings, Basquiat would often write lists of words, many seemingly unrelated. When asked ‘why’ he explained that “There are about 30 words around you all of the time, like ‘thread’ or ‘EXIT’…”. What Basquiat was referring to is that he often painted what was surrounding him. Sometimes, he said that he would literally just look at the space around him as he painted and begin writing the words which he could see. Other times he would open a tour guide, or a dictionary, and write the lists of words he saw before him on the page. His words about his feelings would be sprinkled within, as well.
This will be one of the concepts that we will explore within our own lives, during camp, just as Basquiat did! What words surround us and what words do we want to be surrounded by? These words will be incorporated into the many layers of our week-long, Basquiat-style, large gallery-wrapped paintings! I am so excited to see what the kids come up with! We will, also, explore a broad range of painting techniques that he often used to create his own, (and invent some of our own, of course, as well!).
It is our many layers in life which make us rich in personality and soul. We will celebrate each of these layers through our ‘words-and-art-combined’ throughout our week together, with a little inspiration from our friend, Jean-Michel Basquiat! Come join us! Sign up here.
In the meantime, here are some of Basquiat’s paintings to give you a peek into his work… Enjoy!
The kids are going to LOVE them! Can’t wait!