Exploring Basquiat

"The rich unknown, reserved and precious within us, can emerge into visible form.” — John O'Donohue from Anam Cara

James Kalm’s video floats through a stream of Pages, Lists, Words, Repeated Words, Letters, Repeated Letters mixed into drawings with personal symbols (the crown) and logos (IDEAL, CBS) in the exhibit Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks at Brooklyn Museum.

In addition to composition notebooks, materials include paint sticks, pencil, wood and selective colors.  No immediate logic surfaces other than a process that hewed to the personal and produced, pushing the interior out.

Because of his early death, Basquiat is frozen forever young and sweet-faced in most images.  His face and his work are inspiration.

Grab anything.  Start drawing in a journal and make a list.  Move onto collage using envelopes from today’s mail and painter paper from Home Depot.  Rip and paste while listening to Bruno Mars.  Different energy.

Don’t think, just do… let hands do the work for 90 minutes or so.

Basquiat skull?Then, take photos:  they always capture a perspective not yet seen.  From one angle, the collage kind of looks like one of Basquiat’s skulls.  From another, it resembles Andy Warhol.

Basquiat Warhol?

Mull over night and see what happens tomorrow.

"I don't think about art when I'm working.  I try to think about life."

— Jean-Michel Basquiat from