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Basquiat & Haring

Basquiat & Haring

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in the diverse and artistic neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on December 22, 1960. His father, Gerard Basquiat, was a Haitian-American immigrant, while his mother, Matilde Andrades, came from Puerto Rico. This vibrant blend of cultures greatly influenced Basquiat's art and fueled his passion for embracing his heritage.At just seven years old, Basquiat was playing outside on a New York City street when he was suddenly hit by a car. Though he survived, he spent months recuperating in the hospital. To keep him entertained, his mother gave him a copy of Gray's Anatomy. He became fascinated with clavicles, craniums, and organs which would later feature prominently in his paintings.When he was older, she encouraged his interest in art by taking him to galleries and museums.

As a self-taught artist, Basquiat was inspired by street art and began his career as a graffiti artist. This background gave him an edge and a distinctive voice in the rapidly evolving art scene. His work incorporated elements of music, poetry, history, culture, and human anatomy. He painted from the inside out. Basquiat once said, “When I am painting, I do not think about art; I think about life.”

He had a meteoric rise partially fueled by a chance meeting with iconic artist Andy Warhol which significantly impacted both of their careers. Their synergy and creative conversations led to notable artworks that blended Warhol's pop art elements with Basquiat's unique neo-expressionist approach. He also shared a close friendship with fellow artist Keith Haring, known for his dynamic and colorful works. The two were part of a vibrant underground community that sought to defy traditional norms in the art world. They challenged conventions and broke boundaries with their experimental styles while working together on several collaborative projects. Though brief-lasting only ten years-Basquiat's career was highly successful. He created over 5,000 works and broke records at auctions, solidifying his status as one of the most sought after and successful artists of all time.

Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist known for his illustrative depictions of figures and symbols. He is another example of our theme this year, of contemporary artists that put a new face on ancient cultures. His work has elements of cave paintings, Aboriginal art, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

Born in 1958, in Reading, PA, he was inspired to draw from an early age by his father, an engineer and amateur cartoonist. After briefly studying commercial art in Pittsburgh, he moved to New York to attend the School of Visual Arts. Haring began using the city as his canvas. Riding the subway, he noticed the black paper rectangles of empty advertising panels on station walls; using white chalk, he began filling these black panels with simple, quickly drawn pictures. Haring soon began to apply his recognizable imagery to freestanding drawings and paintings. His art, with its simple style and its deeper universal themes of love, death, war, and social harmony was eventually seen everywhere from public murals and nightclubs to galleries and museums around the world. He continues in popularity and in addition to being one of the most prolifically reproduced pop icons. Haring’s prodigious career was brief. During his life, he conducted art workshops for schools, created art for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings worldwide, to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. In 1989, Haring established a foundation to ensure that his philanthropic legacy would continue indefinitely. His legacy has had a far-reaching ripple effect, and the list of grants that have been awarded annually is truly impressive. He was a great example of " The power of one".

Basquiat Week

We had a small class before the break so

I continued the Basquiat lesson

to let everyone participate when we

returned. I love the results of the mixed

media painting collages using images and

symbols from his paintings.

Something I have not done before is

to contrast two artists but it turned out

really interesting.

Basquiat & Haring

These combustive pieces were inspired by

combining the diverse styles of Basquiat

and Haring art. The classes were so creative and refreshed returning after the holiday break. The "Art Stars " captured the motion and energy of Keith Haring, and the color and symbols of Basquiat with great enthusiasm in their personal narratives.

 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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