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Jean-Michel Basquiat







This is a 2 week project with 2 clear weekly parts towards the same painting.

Week 1 is to produce a background/s in the style of an Abstract Expressionist painting (see below for examples of Abstract Expressionist paintings).

Week 2 is to put the top layer onto the artwork - adding all the detail of the artwork as well as the words.

So this is a 2 week project - looking at

Neo-Expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat who also had strong connections to Pop Art. We can discuss his work once we are back in class but it would be good to familiarise yourself with his work.

I would like you to produce either a diptych or a triptych painting. Please also include these 2 elements in your work: A face (at least 1) of some description, Basquiat has an expressionistic style but you decide what your face should look like. Please also include some form of animal/creature/robot/technology.  Please also include other elements in the artwork - you decide what!


Please add words (see below) - notice how Basquiat often uses strong contrast around the writing so it stands out.

So I want you to tap into Basquiat's style of art - this project help us loosen up around our work (perhaps some dripping paint) and is a fantastic style in itself. Please use paint for the writing.

as a point of inspiration have a look at Simon Armitage's poetry - link below - In the same way we used our own Quotidian Text to inspire and develop a project please have a look at his work - please don't think you need to depict his narratives (although you may want to) just a good reference point. Please find your own poet for inspiration as well - poetry is good because it is also looking at the margins of life, trying to find non-literal ways to register experiences.




  • Paint a background first - At this stage it will look like an Abstract Expressionist painting - see below.  Remember it is a diptych or triptych so paint two or three sheets please. It might be a good idea to make it look like some abstract shape or mark carries over across the 2 or 3 sheets - you decide! PLEASE PHOTOGRAPH THIS WEEK 1 WORK FOR REFERENCE - please also email over week 1 work - I will print these out when we are back in the studio.

  • Preparation for the final paintings might include experimenting with mark making, colour combinations, techniques (dripping pain, dry brush, wet on wet, scrubbing, layering paint (one colour down first - leaving to dry and another over the top to see parts showing through), blending. A page of this kind of experimenting would support the project.


  • This is where we complete the next part of the painting - the detail over the top of the week 1 work.

  • Include a face, an animal/creature/robot/technology and also think about what else to include.

  • Include at least 10 words (can be loads more, whatever you decide) in your artwork - perhaps some small and some large - you decide.

  • What words to write? - Simon Armitage inspired etc.

  • Possible medium to use: Acrylic (or any paint you have, charcoal, oil pastel - anything you have at home really!

  • Preparation for the final paintings might include experimenting with mark making, figure drawing, planning drawings (practice making more expressionistic) etc.

  • Any thoughts or questions please drop me a note - I look forward to seeing your work - thanks Mike.

These are Abstract Expressionist paintings (below) - please also do your own research.

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