Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist. He began as an obscure graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s and evolved into an acclaimed Neo-expressionist and Primitivist painter by the 1980s.
Throughout his career Basquiat focused on "suggestive dichotomies," such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. Basquiat's art utilized a synergy of appropriation, poetry, drawing and painting, which married text and image, abstraction and figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.
Utilizing social commentary as a "springboard to deeper truths about the individual", Basquiat's paintings also attacked power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle.
April 29th, 1979, Holman and Basquiat created the revolutionary sound/music/noise group, Gray. Gray's music can be heard on film soundtracks, such as: Basquiat, The Radiant Child, Downtown 81, Blank City and Downtown Calling. Today, original Gray member Nick Taylor and Holman make up the band. Other members of Gray have included, Vincent Gallo, Justin Thyme (aka Wayne Clifford), and Shannon Dawson.