Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Artist Series- Basquiat

So, I have been out of commission for a while.  Between teaching, being sick, working my regular job, and taking care of sick children- life has been hectic... which really is pretty much usual.  Fortunately, the class I teach is almost over- and my life will resume to its slightly less hectic state. 
Although I have not been blogging as of late, I have been making art into the wee hours of the night.
I figured it would be a good time to talk a bit about what I have been doing!

I have been working on my artist monsters!  I have been having so much fun researching artists and their images and incorporating them into my little creatures.  I also have had a great time using the monsters to teach my daughter a little about the artist that each monster is inspired by. She definitely has her favorites, and it has been wonderful to see how our aesthetic is so similar.  I want to find ways in my posts to share a little about the history of the artist and what images inspired my creature.  I also want to share possible ways that we can create fun directives to make the artist come to life for our children. 

I will start by introducing one of my newest little monsters, King Basquiat!
This little monster is inspired by  

 Born on December 22nd, 1960 in Brooklyn, New York.  His father was Haitian and his mother was of Puerto Rican descent.  He was a super bright child, who could read by age four and loved making art. Jean  Michel spoke French, English, and Spanish by the age of 11.  Although he was a gifted youth, he had a difficult childhood.  He was hit by a car when he was seven, his parents became separated, and he ran away from home at age 15.  He always made art, and would sell his art as a means of taking care of himself.  

Jean Michel Basquiat's imagery is child like, bold, and full of emotion.  It often can remind the viewer of his start as a graffiti artist.  Other images look as if they have been drawn on a chalkboard.  His trademark is a golden crown.  His artwork can be found in collections all over the world.  Sadly, his life was always somewhat troubled, and he died at only 27 years old in 1988.  Here are some of my favorite images.

There is a beautiful children's book with a poem by Maya Angelou and illustrated with the artwork of Jean Michel Basquiat called, "Life Doesn't Frighten Me."  Definitely worth checking out!

Ideas for next steps

  1. One thing that I love as an art therapist, is learning about artists who really used artwork as a means of working through emotions or as a means of support.  Basquiat is one of these artists.  Teaching children about how art can be used as a coping strategy is an excellent way of helping kids deal with their own emotions.
  2. Use black construction paper or black canvas and oil pastels to have your child draw their own "Basquiat" inspired imagery. 
  3. Basquiat painted lots of postcards that he would send to his friends or sell on the street.  Have your child make a postcard and send it to someone they love.  Help them put the stamp on it and put it in the mail! 

That's it for now!  Promise I will write again soon!

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