December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988
Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, the first of three children. His father, Gerard Basquiat, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and his mother, Matilde Basquiat, was of Puerto Rican descent, born in Brooklyn, New York. Basquiat was a precocious child who learned how to read and write by age four and was a gifted artist. His teachers noticed his artistic abilities, and his mother encouraged her son's artistic talent. His mother suffered from mental illness, which caused a strain on his family.
At 15, Basquiat ran away from home. He slept on park benches in Washington Square Park, and was arrested and returned to the care of his father within a week. Basquiat dropped out of high school in the tenth grade. His father banished him from the household and Basquiat stayed with friends in Brooklyn. He supported himself by selling T-shirts and homemade post cards....