Jean-Michel Basquiat rocked the art world when he was barely 20, and his idiosyncratic sense of style also galvanized the world of men’s fashion.”>
An art world darling at the tender age of 20, Jean-Michel Basquiat became as famous for his confidently cool style of mixing designer clothes with thrift store finds as he did for his powerful artwork that attracted the likes of Andy Warhol, Madonna, and power players of the art world of the 80’s. With a life cut short at the age of 27 in 1988, Basquiat’s art and personal style still wield heavy influence today, inspiring street style as well as Kanye and Jay Z.
Basquiat came up in a New York that was gritty, dangerous, and a hotbed of creative energy. New York in the 80’s was a melting pot of vastly contrasting fashions that defined vastly contrasting lifestyle’s power suits for the yuppies, Adidas and street wear for the rising hip hop scene, spikes and slashed clothing for the remaining punks, flash and splash for the exploding fame-obsessed downtown art scene. It was a time of unapologetic individuality, long before the internet transmitted information and a concurrent homogenization of style within seconds.
Basquia’ts style came from the same philosophy as his paintings where he mixed and contrasted ideas like poverty and wealth, segregation and integration, even figuration and abstraction, all of which he referred to as suggestive dichotomies in his artwork. These conflicting notions were unified by his energetic and sloppy brushstrokes, whose vibrant intensity captured the attention of art dealers everywhere.