Basquiat, a new graphic novel detailing the artist’s life, bursts with color on every page, giving us a wildly eccentric look at one of the most original artists to hit the art scene. It’s a quick read that shows us the rise and early demise of this extremely talented man. The pages come to life, mirroring his colorful and abstract style. The story isn’t straightforward, jumping between account of people who knew him, sporadic moments from his life, and recreations of his cultural milestones. It can be difficult to follow but it mirrors his sporadic art in a way. Through it all, we see an artist who is driven to create, who finds fame quickly and begins to crumble under the expectations. It’s an extremely real account, giving us essential insights into this important figure.
The graphic novel’s artwork is most impressive, which is to be expected given the source material. The artist uses every color in the book, overwhelming the senses with out-of-this-world colorations and styles. The story shifts from brilliant comic panels to written accounts, from recreated scenes to recreated magazines. It’s an impressive feat, filled with loads of creativity.
Overall, Basquiat is an eccentric read that gives us a glimpse into the life of one of the most energetic artists of our time. He bared his soul in every work and the world devoured every piece. Watching his rise and downfall is both awe-inspiring and tragic. He’s an artist few can match, and I appreciated this look into his brilliance.
By Paolo Parisi
Laurence King Publishing
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.