Jean-Michel Basquiat was a New York City born and raised artist, musician, and producer. As part of the street art group named SAMO, Basquiat took advantage of a larger exposure of his art. Their art was known for their enigmatic epigrams displayed throughout the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Basquiat art style focused on themes such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation. His unique combination of text and image contributed to his fame. His pieces, such as Irony of Negro Policeman, were strongly political and direct in their address of power structure and systems of racism.
Basquiat’s young life ended tragically at the age of 27. However, hundreds of artists still honor his risky and subversive artistic insight. His countercultural focus helped usher in the idea that street art was, in fact, real art. Moreover, his social commentary has had a lasting and powerful effect.