Jean Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 1988) was an American artist born in Brooklyn, New York.
His mother was a Puerto Rican and his father of Haitian origin.
He had started as a street artist painting graffiti art and then he became a very popular and successful avant-garde artist.
His style was very original - nervous, fierce and energetic.
Basquiat's career divides into three broad though overlapping phases:
In the earliest, from 1980 to late 1982, Basquiat used painterly gestures on canvas, most often depicting skeletal figures and mask-like faces that signal his obsession with mortality, and imagery derived from his street existence, such as automobiles, buildings, police, children's sidewalk, games and graffiti.
A middle period from late 1982 to 1985 features multipanel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with writing, collage and seemingly unrelated imagery. These works reveal a strong interest in Basquiat´s black and Hispanic identity and his identification with historical and contemporary black figures and events.
The last phase, from about 1986 to Basquiat's death in 1988, displays a new type of figurative depiction, in a new painterly style, with different symbols, sources, and content.
He was a close friend of Andy Warhol, and the two made a number of collaborative works.
Basquiat became addicted to heroin, and died of an overdose.