Born: 22 December 1960; Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Died: 12 August 1988; Manhattan, New York City, United States
In his short life, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a pop icon, cultural figure, graffiti artist, musician, and neo-expressionist painter. He was a precocious child, and by the age of four he could both read and write. By the time he was eleven, he was fluent in English, French, and Spanish. And by the time was fifteen, he ran away from home, living for less than a week in Washington Square Park, after which he was arrested and sent back home to live with his father. He dropped out of school in tenth grade, after which his father kicked him out of the house, leaving the young artist to live with friends, supporting himself by selling T-shirts and homemade postcards.
In the 1970’s Basquiat began spray painting buildings in Lower Manhattan, using the pseudonym SAMO, earning him notoriety and a certain amount of fame. He appeared on television in 1979 on the sow “TV Party,” and that same year formed a rock band called “Gray,” which performed all throughout New York. During this time, he also appeared in the music video “Rapture” by Blondie.