Jean-Michel Basquiat Graffiti Painting Live – video

Wanna see SAMO / Jean-Michel Basquiat piecing live downtown NYC? This graffiti video clip which dates back to 1981 shows the graffiti artist in action.

This video art clip nicely demonstrates some of the unique nature of graffiti art:
* its illegality bringing the need to work ‘under cover’ and enhancing the importance of signature tags
* it being performed at night, i.e. a time when none is watching, which brings a different mood and reality to the surface
* it being directed by night light, night guards, and the likes
* its need to be completed fast
* its incorporation of unique surface features: poles on a wall, the curves of cars, or hard to reach places
* it being a cryptic street language to communicate with others on the street scene ~ a hard to understand by the general public
* it being a competitive art: to gain respect one has to be prolific (besides skilled & understanding locality)

“I don’t think about art when I’m working.
I try to think about life.” ~ Jean-Michel Basquiat

2 Lives: Graffiti Wall Artist & Graffiti Canvas Painter

Before becoming a famous and an outrageously well-paid canvas painter (style: neo-expressionist), Jean-Michel Basquiat was a celebrity graffiti artist who developed his public reputation as SAMO.

Actually, both Basquiat and his buddy Al Diaz signed their cryptic massages and drawings on the walls of New York with SAMO, together with the copyright mark ©, often a stylized crown above. SAMO was his graffiti tag, a signature, standing for ‘same old shit’. Then, sometime in 1980s, graffiti statements that ‘SAMO is dead’ appeared. It was a time when Basquiat showed up in person in public. He moved into his second life as as artist.

By A. Lee
© copyright A. Lee, 2009

graffiti paper

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