Category: Haitian

Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Yutaka Sakano in Tokyo for Issey Miyake in 1983.

Yutaka Sakano: “One day in July 1983, I received a phone call from Midori Kitamura, Issey Miyake’s assistant who was in charge of press relations at the time. She tells me that a young artist named Basquiat, who has become a sensation in New York, was coming to Japan, and she asked me if I could photograph him for a men’s fashion magazine. I immediately reserve studio # 8 in the basement of Studio Azabu, which no longer exists today. The day of the shooting, I loaded in my car a hand made backdrop and went to the rendezvous in a good mood. This is the first time I met Basquiat. I did not know anything about him. He looks like a wonderful young man. He takes the initiative during the shooting, improvising all kinds of poses. It is also the first time he meets me, and we did not speak each other language, having to opt instead for hand gestures communication. He did his best to comply with the guidelines given by the Japanese photographer that I am. Even though the photos are for color publication, I always take black and white photos for my own use. And if I find the subject particularly interesting, all the shooting is also done in B&W.” 


Happy Birthday Jean-Michel Basquiat!

(December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988)

“I never went to an art school. I failed the art courses that I did take in school. I just looked at a lot of things. And that’s how I learnt about art, by looking at it.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat


Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Brad Branson, 1984.


Madonna, a former lover of Jean-Michel Basquiat tells her story

I am not sure if I met Jean-Michel in an art gallery or a night-club, but in those days you couldn’t tell the difference.

He had the presence of a movie star and I was crazy about him. He carried crumpled wads of money in the pockets of his paint-splattered Armani suits. Money he felt guilty about having. Money he always gave away to less fortunate friends.

I remember Jean-Michel’s tag – Samo- which was accompanied with a little crown and I remember thinking he was a genius. He was. But he wasn’t very comfortable with it.

I remember all the girls were in love with him and one night I looked out of his loft window and saw a girl whose heart he had broken, burning his paintings in a big bonfire. I wanted to stop her and rescue his paintings, but he didn’t seem to mind. He said it was their fate.

I remember him getting up at 3am and sleep-walking to an empty canvas. He stood inches away from it and proceeded to paint the most minuscule figures and what he did was so beautiful and intellectual and I stood watching him with dumbfounded amazement

He was one of the people I was truly envious of. But he didn’t know how good he was and was plagued with insecurities. He used to say he was jealous of me because music is more accessible and it reached more people. He loathed the idea that art was appreciated by an elite group.

When I broke up with him he demanded I give back the paintings he had given me. Not because he didn’t think I deserved them, but because he was obsessed with the idea that I would sell them.

He was so paranoid. of course, I was heart-broken but complied. Now I couldn’t buy one of his paintings if I wanted to.

When I heard that Jean-Michel had died I was not surprised. He was too fragile for this world.

I remember one summer having dinner with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel at Mr Chow’s and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to have known him. To have known all of them. Now they’re all gone.


New Straits Times – 2 June 1996)


Jean-Michel Basquiat creating masterpieces in 1982.


Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Julio Donoso, 1988.


Jean-Michel Basquiat painting

untitled (Fallen Angel) in the basement of Annina Nosei’s gallery, November 1981.

Photos by Seth Tillett

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982)

Jean-Michel Basquiat Polaroids by Andy Warhol,1982.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna

in his Crosby Street studio, 1982. 

Photos by Stephen Torton