© James Van Der Zee
- Initially Basquiat wanted to be a fireman.
- In third grade he sent a drawing of a gun to J. Edgar Hoover (no reply).
- Basquiat played the synthesizer with Vincent Gallo in a band called Gray (named after the 1918 classic of human anatomy Gray's Anatomy).
- He was the only kid in his grade nine academic life drawing class to fail.
- His mother encouraged his interest in art and stressed the importance of education.
- In 1981 he made his first trip to Europe to exhibit a one artist show under the name SAMO.
- Basquiat described his subject matter as, 'royalty, heroism, and the street'.
- His heroes included Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Charlie Parker, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Billie Holiday.
- The sidewalks of Greenwich Village were his temporary store front as he sold painted t-shirts and postcards under the name SAMO.
- Helped Andy Warhol rediscover his relationship to painting after 20 years of not picking up a brush.
Untitled (The Boxer), 1982 ~ sold November 2008 $13.5 million
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Originally published March 26, 2009