Jean-Michel Basquiat’s (1960-1988) meteoric rise from anonymous graffiti-writer to art-world superstar is now the stuff of legend, and was even during his lifetime. In the 70s and 80s, Basquiat was the face of “New Art, New Money,” and wealth, women, and drugs seemed to follow him like a posse wherever he went. Everyone wanted to know him. Everyone still does. But at the heart of this whirlwind spectacle of paint and power was a young man, a real person, whose inner thoughts were oftentimes just as enigmatic as the artwork he created- even to those who knew him best.
Taken during the height of his fame in 1985 at his studio at Great Jones Street, New York, this series of portraits by acclaimed German photographer Andreas Sterzing are striking in their vulnerability and honesty. No Armani suits, no posturing. In their stark portrayal of a “creative genius,” they instead reveal the man, or rather, “the twenty-something-year-old,” behind it all. Quiet, pensive, and painting. At peace in his studio. Lost in a private moment.
Although Basquiat would tragically die of a drug overdose at 27, just two and a half years later, these photographs by Andreas Sterzing serve as proof that the public spectacle that became his life was not the whole picture. Behind the portrait of a genius was a boy in a blue shirt and a paintbrush, full of ideas-- and life.
This extremely rare collection of 7 NFTs have been fully digitized at 77 editions each, and are made available with much thanks to the photographer. There will be no reruns.