Art legends become art Oracles and offer words of wisdom on life, work, and inspiration – here we decode what it all means
In lieu of a canvas, find a wall: Before Basquiat was “Basquiat”, he was one-half of SAMO©. Alongside Al Diaz, the pair would use marker pens and spray paint to write cryptic messages across the city’s walls: SAMO©,,, FOR THOSE OF US WHO MERELY TOLERATE CIVILIZATION,,,” and “SAMO©,,, FOR THE URBAN RED-NECK,,,”.
Try collaborating with Andy Warhol: Although almost three decades stood between them in age, Warhol and Basquiat were very close friends and collaborators. This quote from Warhol’s longtime assistant Ronny Cutrone perhaps best sums this up: “It was like some crazy art-world marriage and they were the odd couple. The relationship was symbiotic. Jean-Michel thought he needed Andy’s fame, and Andy thought he needed Jean-Michel’s new blood. Jean-Michel gave Andy a rebellious image again.” Unfortunately, given that Warhol died in 1987, this might be a tough one to follow.
Good work can come from bad habits: Tragically, Basquiat’s heroin addiction caught up with him on 12 August 1988, when he died of an overdose at his New York studio. This harrowing account from the artist’s friend, Anthony Haden-Guest, details the last time he saw him, on the day of his death. Don’t try this one at home.