The Best Jean Michel Basquiat quotes

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Very few people have achieved as much in their short time on earth as Jean Michel Basquiat. A self-taught artist from New York, Basquiat first gained notoriety for his street art in the early 1980s. He quickly rose to become one of the most celebrated artists of his generation before his untimely death at the age of 27. Today, his work is still highly sought-after by collectors and fetches millions of dollars at auction. In this post, we’ll take a look at the life and work of this remarkable artist.

Discover the deepest quotes from Jean Michel Basquiat, and much more.


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About Jean Michel Basquiat

birth of the author

December 22, 1960

death of the author

August 12, 1988

deathcause of the author

Cause Of Death:
Heroin Overdose

movement of the author


website of the author


Inspiring Phrases From Jean Michel Basquiat

I thought I was going to be a bum the rest of my life.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I was a really lousy artist as a kid. Too abstract expressionist; or I’d draw a big ram’s head, really messy. I’d never win painting contests. I remember losing to a guy who did a perfect Spiderman.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I am not a black artist, I am an artist.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Fire will attract more attention than any other cry for help.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I was a cute kid.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I start a picture and I finish it.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Various Statements From Jean Michel Basquiat

The black person is the protagonist in most of my paintings. I realized that I didn’t see many paintings with black people in them.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

If I’m away from painting for a week, I get bored.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I have a painting where somebody’s holding a chicken, and underneath the chicken is somebody’s head.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

There are about 30 words around you all the time, like ‘thread’ or ‘exit.’–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I wanted to be a cartoonist when I was young.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Since I was seventeen I thought I might be a star. I’d think about all my heroes, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix… I had a romantic feeling about how these people became famous.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

My favorite Twombly is ‘Apollo and the Artist,’ with the big ‘Apollo’ written across it.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

More Phrases From Jean Michel Basquiat

Samo as an end to to mindwash religion, nowhere politics and bogus philosophy.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

The country makes me more paranoid, you know? I think the crazy people out there are little crazier.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

The more I paint the more I like everything.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I played a guitar with a file, and a synthesizer.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Redundant Thematics

In Jean Michel Basquiat Statements


I had very few friends. There was nobody I could trust. I left home when I was fifteen. I lived in Washington Square Park.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I think about life.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I want to make paintings that look as if they were made by a child.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Deeper Quotes From Jean Michel Basquiat

I like kids’ work more than work by real artists any day.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I start a picture and I finish it. I don’t think about art while I work. I try to think about life.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I had some money, I made the best paintings ever. I was completely reclusive, worked a lot, took a lot of drugs. I was awful to people.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

I wanted to be a star, not a gallery mascot.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you’ve got to realize that influence is not influence. It’s simply someone’s idea going through my new mind.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Charles Saatchi has never liked my work at all.–Jean — Michel Basquiat

Every single line means something.–Jean — Michel Basquiat


Basquiat was an incredible artist with a lot of wisdom to share. We hope these quotes have inspired you as much as they’ve inspired us. If you want to learn more about Basquiat and his art, be sure to check out our upcoming courses on him. We’ll walk you through his life and work, and teach you how to create your own masterpieces in the process.

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