The Ingenious Works of Banksy and Basquiat
The Shrewd World of the Imaginative
Both Banksy and Jean-Michel Basquiat were well known graffiti artists in the 1970’s and 80’s. I find myself particularly drawn to them because I have always enjoyed both of their works. Though similar in many ways, they also differ in their style and appearance, their back-rounds as well, and where they drew their inspiration from.
I Became familiar with Banksy quite a few years ago when I stumbled across a graffiti book of his and became fully engrossed and enticed by it. What really draws me to Banksy is the fact that no one really knows who he was or where he came from, he was a bit of an anomaly. From what I know personally he was an English gentleman, one whom drew inspiration for his art from such topics as politics, culture and ethics. What he is most famous for though is his street art, his graffiti, which combined stenciling.
Banksy’s art has been in high demand for some time now, but for the true followers, it is well known that he does not sell his street art, or that of graffiti rather.
Often Banksy’s pieces are known to be somewhat satirical, with the intention of creating a somewhat humorous feel, there is often a deeper meaning though, that of sarcasm, an attack or a parody of sorts.
One of my personal favorite aspects of Banksy’s work is that he so delicately and gorgeously incorporates his graffiti into the wall itself so as to depict a real scene, a real piece of art. He has the ability to show a scene, a moment. He has the talent to show true emotion and feeling. He gives the viewer something to really look at, to take notice of.
In my belief he is somewhat of a genius himself. I take wonder in the fact that no one really knows who this man is, yet his artwork continues to appear around the world. In collaboration with not only the art world but politics and the music scene as well.
I am not as well versed with Basquiat’s work as I am with Banksy’s but I do know they that share similar yet very different qualities in their artwork. Basquiat was born in the U.S., he grew up in New York City where he eventually dropped out of school to join traveling around where he lived off of selling various items of his own. At one point he went on to form a band called ‘Gray.’ They performed at such famous venues as CBGB.
At one point Basquiat got involved in the art scene and his art was exhibited at a show which is where I believe became ‘discovered.’ He went on to exhibit his artworks throughout New York City and then Internationally where he began to gain recognition. He began showing his work regularly and eventually got involved with Andy Warhol around 1984.
In my opinion every artist is a struggling one, in order to be an artist of sorts, or an aspiring one for that matter, I believe that one must have had many trials and tribulations that they must have had experienced. It is my belief that every artist basis their work off of some sort of trauma, and uses this as a form of self-expression, a way to vent, to let the world know how they feel, and not necessarily through words.
Basquiat himself struggled with drug addiction. It is believed that after the death of his close friend Andy Warhol he really spiraled downwards. He descended into the dark and morbid world of addiction. The one in which one can no longer see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel, where everything is impossible and nothing is probable. It is believed that Basquiat died of an accidental overdose of heroin and cocaine, though I had previously read that his last piece of artwork was that of him committing suicide, a sort of final farewell, ‘my final last piece.’ It gives me a sort of Kurt Cobain feeling, though his death came years after. Basquiat was only 27 years of age when he died.
In comparing these two artists I find many similarities but many more differences. They were both well known for their artwork, created quite a scene for themselves and gave themselves a name. The difference for me though is how they came across their work, how they went about it and what they went through in order to create it.
Banksy is still well known to this day, not that Basquiat is not, but in a much more tragic way. Banksy is the phantom, the man you never see but want to, the man of mystery and mystique. His work is all around, yet he is not.
Basquiat took a different route, that of living in the high fast paced world of underground music, art, and drugs. He was a great artist, well known in his time and still to this day, but he got sucked into to underground. The world of the unknown, the world that eventually engulfed him and swallowed him whole.
Both are great artists of their times and I believe that they will remain so. So similar yet so different in many ways. I admire each of their abilities to be their own, to take risks, put themselves on the line and outside to the criticism of the world. Whether they remain anonymous or not.
When it comes to art, in my opinion, an artist has to take risks in order to put him or herself out there. Both of these artists are an inspiration to me. I am no graffiti artist by any means but am an aspiring writer and in looking at both of these men I am reminded that it is not impossible to make yourself known, whether it comes easily or not is not up to me, but it reminds me that if I continue to do what it is that I love, eventually I will get there.