In the epicenter of New York’s most creative era, it was a very exciting and inspiring time. Andy Warhol had come to Jamie Canvas one day, we had a conversation about painting and about how the job of an artist was being someone who contributed to the world and worked each day, and he asked if I had seen Jean recently, I remembered Basquiat referencing this in a conversation, how inspired he was by Warhol, how pleased and assured that he had the support of Andy Warhol and people in the Art world. On a cold day in February, after Warhol’s death, I ran into him in Soho. Basquiat was wearing a gorgeous tan cashmere coat, top hat and suit Andy Warhol bought with him and he talked about how he much he missed Andy but how he was moving along. Warhol had conveyed to him that he was like the young Miles Davis of the Art world and that he had to persevere and continue doing what he was doing. He said to me,”Andy bought this with me and so that’s why I’m wearing it but this is not really me. I am not myself but I wanted to be next to Andy that’s why I put this outfit on.” I told Basquiat how proud I was of him when I saw his picture on the cover of the New York Times Magazine cover, reminding him how I actually was in the basement at Nosei’s when he started making some of those things that I saw in that article. Basquiat would reverse art and actually paint on the
backs of canvases instead of the front, using sticks, straw, rope, and string that he tied and made these kinds of cannibal like structures that I actually got to see when he had his show sponsored by Madonna and other people at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was where Basquiat and I had first talked about making them, it was an idea that I had given him and he ran with it and said, “that’s good I’m going to use that,” and he actually did it and they were quite beautiful. Basquiat, besides being unorthodox had a real flair for making art in the moment, he was natural and the thing that was most provocative about him to me was he was so gentle, so nice and so special that he never let ego get in his way he just loved making things, loved life and loved people. I think of him every day and I miss him very much. We could be ourselves around each other knowing he did not have to impress me. We hugged and he left me saying,” it’s not as much fun as it used to be,” and he had tickets to Madison Square Garden to see I believe LL Cool J with L.A. friends he was collaborating with. Basquiat died a short time thereafter. After the death of Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat nothing seemed right.
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