Jean Michel Basquiat was a great artist, but way before he was super famous and way over the New York City art and party scene, he was one of the most well known graffiti artists in the city — but he didn’t do it alone. He had a collaborator, Ali Diaz, who helped him tag buildings and subway trains with “SAMO,” which stood for “Same Old Sh*t. Diaz also took pictures, as friends do, while they hung out, and this week, he released never before seen photos of Jean Michel Basquiat on Instagram. The pictures are mainly portraits of then 16-year-old Basquiat, which isn’t something you get to see very often.
Diaz is selling the collection, along with original prints of their SAMO work and other merch (like pins and a patch) via House of Roulx. But you have to move quickly — there aren’t many prints left. Obviously.
He’s been in pretty huge demand recently. Last month, a Japanese billionaire bought the 1982 “Untitled” painting (it looks like a skull head, made with acrylic and spray paint) for $110.5 MILLION, which is huge. It was bought by the same Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, who bought another Basquiat at auction last year for $57.3 million. Maybe he’s the guy snapping up all of Diaz’s old photographs of the legendary painter.
These never seen before pics of Basquiat are worth a follow.
When Maezawa bought the painting last month he wrote on Instagram, “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece. When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible.”
Hey, any art lover knows that feeling, and if you have a couple hundred million, why the heck not?
The $110 million painting.
He plans on donating the painting to exhibitions all over the world, so if you can’t get your hands on a SAMO print from Diaz, you can always keep your eyes out for the next Basquiat exhibition.