Jean-Michel Basquiat

“She say I care more about them basquions

Basquiats, she learning a new word, it’s yacht”

-Kanye West

For those who couldn’t remember the lyric…I digress.

I attended the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art recently.

Admittedly, prior to attending the exhibit I knew relatively little about him or his life. I’m still not an expert but the exhibit piqued my interest and made me want to learn more about him.

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Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks

On display were some of Basquiat’s larger pieces as well as pages from several of his notebooks. The notebook pages displayed everything from sketches, to poems, to grocery lists. He didn’t “do” art, he “was” art and found inspiration in every aspect of his life. He gave a voice and meaning to even the smallest of things in the world around him. He showed such an appreciation for life and the exhibit executed that very well.

The space itself felt as if it were alive. Not just from the people in the crowded space, but by the energy in the room. You could feel the people around you thinking and trying to interpret what was being portrayed. All the while the audio of an interview of Basquiat was being played in the background. So while you were trying to interpret the experience for yourself the artist’s voice was echoing throughout the exhibit. It felt as if I were a part of something bigger. It felt intimate. As if I were allowed to peer behind the curtain of his creative process and walk in his shoes.

There was something so inspiring and honest about it all. It was the world through his eyes.

If I have to point out one thing about his creative process it would be his use of crossing out words. His purpose wasn’t to omit it, but to bring it to the forefront of your mind.

“I cross out words so you will see them more; the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.”

I walked away from the museum that day knowing that he was original. He was genuine. He was himself and I found that refreshing.

I hope that one day I can be that inspiration for someone else.

You can learn more about the artist here.