Jean-Michele Basquiat: Style Icon
In observance of Black History Month I felt it would be nice to highlight a few African American style icons. This week I will begin with Jean-Michele Basquiat. Born in Brooklyn NYC in 1960, Basquiat was an extremely intelligent and sometimes unfortunate child. He was able to read and write in English, Spanish, and French by age 11, on top of being highly gifted in art. When he was in his late teens he sold T-shirts he had made, and took a job in retail selling clothes to make extra money, and was known for his quirky since of style.
Basquiat quickly became famous for his graffiti all around New York City and was considered a major force in the Neo-Expressionist movement in art from his abstract paintings. He was known to paint in his most expensive Armani suits, get paint all over them, and then wear them to the opening. He fused his art and fashion together like no one had been known to do before him in this way. He was even on the cover of Time magazine for his ability to be as successful as he was while still being a young, working artist. He was the face of a new culture of young, cultured, intelligent, successful people in a newly created field where race was much less relevant, and talent and individuality was favored.
The style Gods over at GQ had this to say about Basquiat: ”A plaid shirt with a striped coat; that may contradict some people’s ideas of what ‘correct’ pattern mixing is, but he’s pulling it off. He expressed himself in his personal style as strongly as he did in his paintings. And as a graffiti artist, he was influenced by the streets: not too tailored, but always showing people that he knew how to dress.”