Young Artists are Not Just a Sound Bite
Basquiat was a highly intelligent, teenage graffiti artist, known by other street artists as ”Samo,” His curated mark-making and sayings on public buildings around Manhattan were numerous and impossible to ignore due to his use of events, vocabulary and lettering. By the late 70s Basquiat had achieved a kind of cult status amongst the East Village hipsters. His choices were informed, intelligent, highly individualistic and not about claiming space but cultivating thought through careful placement and idea sharing. Eventually he began to use television images, comic-book heroes, fragments from the Bible, slogans; he appropriated it all into his work. Art at the time was intellectualized and devoid of humanity. When Basquiat took his work from the street to canvases inside galleries, he could barely keep up with the demand. His jazzy, improvisational paintings, influenced by masters like Matisse, Picasso and Twombly, breathed life back into a sterile art world. Especially his colorful triptych painting Notary, which was thirteen feet of words and images scrolling the panels connecting his own personal stories with pop culture.
Jean Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, and died August 12, 1988, at only 27 years old. The impact Basquiat made on contemporary art in the 1980s and thereafter is undeniably epic.
The American education system is known for producing the best and brightest minds in the world. Our curriculums’ push towards the study of math, science, technology, medicine and law. Our curriculum is losing its focus on the arts as a valuable piece to help our students invent, communicate and problem solve in creative ways. The arts and musical education are devalued and dismissed as a legitimate pathway to successful life. The arts matter! We must create more opportunities for young minds like Basquiat to grow and change the world.
According to DoSomething.org, “Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education. Much like expert technical skills, mastery in arts and humanities is closely correlated to high earnings.”
I know the arts help create community and transform academic spaces while maintaining cultural heritage and building voice. This is not a short quote, this is not a sound bite, the arts make America memorable, exciting and innovative. The arts will always be the secret ingredient the American educational system has over the rest of the world. Giving permission to think outside the box while exploring opportunities for youth to be creative is essential to being a better country. Together through art we will change the world.
Happy Youth Art Month…#dostuff and go make a difference!
To learn more about Andee Rudloff visit her website.