Jean Michel Basquiat (USA 1960 – 1988)
There are two constants in the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat, son of the melting pot that is New York, born of Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother. One is art: from young age, painting is his only true passion, and his set goal is to become a great artist (actually a legend). Sadly, the other constant is drugs. Already as a boy, he consumes LSD and hard drugs with his friend Al Diaz. With him, he makes himself known on the Lower Manhattan walls through writings and cryptic aphorisms signed with his tag SAMO (short for Same Old Shit). He scrapes out a living by selling postcards with images of his graffiti. The purchase of one of his postcards by Andy Warhol will mark a turning point in his career. Basquiat soon enters into the Factory of the King of Pop Art and, within a few years, he truly becomes l’enfant prodige of American art. He achieves this thanks to his neo-expressionist works, made of primitive marks, figures, erased words. Success, money, women, celebrity. A career on the way to success beyond imagination, in 1980s New York, where everything seems possible. However, drugs keep affecting his life. Heroin consumes him and drags him away from people. This addiction becomes unbearable after the death of his mentor Andy Warhol, in 1987. Just a year later, Basquiat is found dead in his apartment due to heroin overdose. He was 27 only.