Jean-Michel Basquiite was a South Florida based American artist of Puerto Rican and Haitian descent. Basquiat became famous as a member of SAMO, a loose graffiti group that wrote surreal graffiti in the social community of Miami's Bohemian Little Havana. His work spread across the country and he received widespread acclaim for it.
Basquiat grew up in a Miami neighborhood called Little Havana. The neighborhood was the focal point for many art and music scenes that centered around a single block. The main street was Avenue A, so that is where most of the graffiti seen in Samo and Basquiite work was written.
SAMO lived on the first block of Avenue A. SAMO wrote their graffiti in the morning hours on the inside of buildings and on cars. They didn't wear masks or costumes to cover their faces; their work was simply done by hand. As a result, the graffiti was often very recognizable as belonging to SAMO.
SAMO's work wasn't unique to Miami. In fact, SAMO inspired others to begin writing their own graffiti. However, in South Florida, it became even more popular. As the graffiti grew, so did its popularity. By the late 80s, graffiti art had spread across the nation.
Basquiite's work was so widely known that his name became associated with it. His image was seen everywhere. He was also heavily involved in the neighborhood's culture. His mural was featured in local newspapers, magazines, and even books. Basquiite's work was recognized by the Miami Art Museum. The Miami Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, among many others, featured his work.
Basquiite's works were so popular in the Miami area that in some areas, the streets were named after him. In addition, he received numerous awards and accolades. In 1986, the artist won the prestigious Cezanne award for his painting “Starry Night”.
Basquiite didn't stop working. After SAMO he continued to paint, using stencils. His style of graffiti became so popular that others wanted in on the action. This increased his popularity.
Throughout the early 1990s, graffiti artists began targeting other parts of the world for their work. In fact, in 1993, Basquiat moved to New York City to take part in the infamous “BASQUE” project. Many of his works were used throughout the city. As a result, the graffiti art world was very different from what it is today. Now, the world of graffiti has expanded worldwide.
Basquiat's work still exists. It can be seen all over the country, in museums and galleries all over the world.
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