Mr Jean-Michel Basquiat was a graffiti artist on the 1980s New York art scene, legendary for wearing high-priced designer suits to paint in. In his short 27-year-life he modelled for Comme des Garcons, starred in a Blondie music video, dated Madonna and collaborated with Andy Warhol.
His father, Gerard Basquiat, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and his mother, Matilde Basquiat, was of Puerto Rican descent, born in Brooklyn, New York.Basquiat was a precocious child who learned how to read and write by age four and was a gifted artist.His teachers noticed his artistic abilities, and his mother encouraged her son's artistic talent. By the age of eleven, Basquiat could fluently speak, read, and write French, Spanish and English.
In September 1968, Basquiat was hit by a car while playing in the street. His arm was broken and he suffered several internal injuries, and eventually underwent a splenectomy.His parents separated that same year and he and his sisters were raised by their father.The family resided in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, for five years, then moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1974. After two years, they returned to New York City.
At 15, Basquiat ran away from home.He slept on park benches in Washington Square Park, and was arrested and returned to the care of his father within a week.