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"I am not a black artist, I am an artist."

Son of a Haitian man and a Puerto Rican-American woman, Basquiat’s cultural identity benefited him when composing motifs and symbols that celebrated black culture, but also drew attention to the complexity of black history.

"He seemed to digest the frenetic flow of passing image and experience, put them through some kind of internal reorganization and dress the canvas with this resultant network of chance."

David Bowie

"I'm not a real person. I'm a legend."

A highly talented and revolutionary artist, Basquiat brought graffiti into the galleries and became the first artist of African-American descent to make a name for himself in the white-dominated art scene. The artist originally featured his artwork on postcards to sell them on the streets of New York before he gained true legitimacy.

“I took a Polaroid and he went home and within two hours a painting was back, still wet, of him and me together.”

Basquiat’s painting career gained momentum with his close, yet turbulent, friendship with Andy Warhol. In the filmThe Andy Warhol Diariesthe context of the print on the Warhol Bag is documented. This citation pays testament to Basquiat’s impulsive behavior, his inspiring surges of creativity, and more importantly points to the innovation and dynamism which benefited Warhol during their friendship. Andy Warhol said,