It seems to me throughout history there are more than a few of the greats that die young. Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, & Janis Joplin, just to name a few. They touched so many people with their music. Artists have a way of doing that.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was very intelligent; by age four he was reading & already started to show his gift for art. Born in Brooklyn, New York, by age 11 he could fluently speak, read, & write fluently in Spanish, French, & English. Even though Jean-Michele excelled in schooling he dropped out by the 10th grade. His father disowned him, so he made money selling t-shirts & homemade post cards.
By 1976 Jean-Michel was expressing his artistic side through graffiti in the Lower Manhattan area. He called himself SAMO. He would inscribe messages on the wall like; “SAMO as an end to bogus pseudo-intellectual. My mouth, therefore an error. Plush safe.. He think.” or “SAMO as an end to mind wash religion, nowhere politics and bogus philosophy.” He ended his SAMO project in 1979, with the epitaph "SAMO IS DEAD.”
From 1979 to 1980 Jean-Michele was still living the dream as an artist. He was in the band Gray, a regular on public-access television, & starred in Glen O'Brien's independent film Downtown 81, originally titled New York Beat. Thru Glen he met the infamous Andy Warhol, who helped catapult BAsquiat into pop culture. Throughout 1980 Basquiat participated in several art exhibitions. In late 1981, he joined the Annina Nosei Gallery in SoHo. The art world became very interested in him & his part in the Neo-expressionist movement.
By 1986 Basquiat left the Annina Nosei gallery, to show his art in the famous Mary Boone Gallery in SoHo. The world was his oyster, he was also featured on the cover of the New York Times, the article was called "New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist". In Febuary of 1987 Andy Warhol died. Basquiat had become close with Warhol; this is when his heroin addiction and depression started to completely consume him. Basquiat passed away on August 12, 1988. Even in death his work & life continues to inspire artists & viewers around the world.