“dug deep into the ground and steal his crown, misused and abused…WE’RE ALL CREATIVE NOW”
Jean-Michel Basquiat is an American artist from Brooklyn,NY. He rose to artistic success at a very young age in the late 1980’s during the emergence of NewYork’s amazing art scene.
He ran away from home and began doing insightful poetic graffiti with a classmate,Al Diaz, under the surname SAMO: SAmeOldshit. Upon, being discovered as one of the individuals behind the thought provoking poetic pieces, he was accepted into the downtown NewYork crowd of artristic individuals. He wondered the streets for almost two years doing art, adamant on never returning home. He transitioned from doing art on small notecards, which he sold to Andy Warhol during a chance run in at a cafe’, to creating huge drawings and paintings. His breakout opportunity came at the 1985 Time Square Show, where tons of artist hung their work in hopes of being discovered. Jean-Michel’s work wowed the masses and the rest is history.
Unfortunately, he passed away August of 1988 at the age of 27 as a result of an heroin overdose. Many believe his life took a drastic turn for the worse when his dear friend and mentor, Andy Warhol died in February of 1987.
I did not want to speak on this great artist without giving a brief background story on him first. The real reason why this art piece was created is simply out of respect for Basquiat: his legacy, his art and very symbolic “THREE POINT CROWN”. The Three Point Crown is almost as recognizable as the McDonald’s arches to an artist, but today I must admit that it is being misused on a very large scale. I myself have taken great offense to its heavy commercial use (i.e Reebok). I just find it very fake that guys like Rick Ross, who was recently dropped by Reebok due to controversial lyrics, strut around in apparel emblazoned wit the Three Point Crown. I have been a Rick Ross fan since he first emerged onto the rap scene and his music has never contained references to anything besides women and the struggle of a street hustler. I fully understand he may have been “schooled” on the less materialistic things in life, such as a fine piece of art, but its all politics to me. I compare my animosity toward him to the animosity skateboarders had toward Pharrell Williams, a big name hip-hop producer, when he commercialized the skateboard culture. I almost feel like, because these people have money it gives them the right to tamper with what I hold near and dear to my heart. They can simply buy their way into a culture or a lifestyle without necessarily knowing much about it or living it for that matter. Am I happy to see Basquiat’s legacy live on, of course I am, but I honestly don’t see how some of these big name hip-hop heads became such art aficionados. Swizz Beats, another big name hiphop producer, spear headed the whole rejuvenation of Reebok and put the usage of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work into play. I was skeptical about how authentic his love for the art culture was as well, but he seems to know his stuff and I cannot knock a man down if hes educated on a particular subject.
I do get a bit uncomfortable when someone like Nas does his first, and very terrible, painting on stage during a concert and sell it for thousands of dollars right then and there. The money was given to charity, but it doesnt take away the fact that Nas just unknowingly spat in the faces of so many artist who dream to reach that point in their life. I understand this man is a great lyricist, but its as if he’s making a mockery of what art means to a true visual artist. WE never woke up one day and said “Hey,I’m going to be an artist” Its our life line, what we breath, what we think and its why we live. I love art like I love my lover its something I respect and refuse to see it misused and disrespected in any way.
Getting back to Jean-Michel Basquiat, I just feel like, because Reebok has breathed new life into his art there are so many small brands taking this mans legacy….his Three Point Crown and using it for ulterior motive. I could understand if the people backing the brand was heavily into art and the culture, but people like that usually create art of their own. But, who am I to judge someone for trying to make a dollar I must not forget that I’m living in America…The Country of Capitalist. I could say that if your going to be a Capitalist at least do it the right way but we must not forget that capitalism has no moral value…
R.I.P Jean-Michel Basquiat