Jean-Michel Basquiat’s early street work produced in the 1970s was initially a collaboration with others with the tag SAMO – as in ‘same old shit’’ – and it focused more on graffiti-like images containing text, sometimes with complex and subtle references.
Perhaps because of his exotic background and photogenic appearance, he was welcomed by the media and made many appearances in TV art show interviews and, when he became close Andy Warhol, he became even more high profile. His work shifted from the streets to a more conventional canvas and he became integral to the Gallery scene.
His health, fragile as a result of severe internal injuries sustained in a road accident when he was around 8 years old, could not withstand a demanding lifestyle and heroin addiction and he died aged just 27.
His work attracts much interest and has achieved success at notable auctions.