Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Brooklyn born American graffiti artist who achieved notoriety as part of the SAMO duo, who would tag the word SAMO on the streets of New York between 1977 and 1980 and accompany it with short poetic or sarcastic phrases. Most of their graffiti was concentrated around the Lower East Side of Manhattan – an area famous for being an incubator for the early hip-hop scene.
In the 1980’s his art developed and he was exhibiting his art in galleries and museums in America and beyond. Basquiat’s art was political and focused on suggestive dichotomies, e.g. ‘wealth vs poverty’ and ‘integration vs segregation’.
Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at his studio in 1988, he was 27 years old. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is a feature length 2010 documentary by Tamra Davis. based on footage she captured when she met Basquiat in 1985. The initial production was just 20 minutes long but after being well-received at Sundance in 2006 she decided to morph it into this 90 minute feature. Numerous prominent people from the art world are interviewed for the film.