Today I finished a painting that has been brewing for months and then materialized quickly in the past week. It is a commissioned copy of a work of genius that shined brightly and burned out in a drug overdose at age 27. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), the child of a mother of Haitian descent and a Puerto Rican father, started as a graffiti artist in Brooklyn. His mother Matilde instilled a love of art in Jean-Michel, taking him regularly to the fertile sacred ground of the great museums in NYC. Child prodigy, tragic talent, hit by a car at 8, spoke English, French, and Spanish by age 11, musician, writer, social activist, pie-wielding high school drop-out. He suffered from depression and an appetite for narcotics. Within a short span, he was homeless eating 15-cent bags of cheetos, and then an instant celebrity. His influence loomed large throughout my years in art school in the 1980’s. He had a disdain for the art world and dodged questions about his own art in interviews. His life is a tiny complex crystal that few can resist straining to take in. In 2016, his painting at Christie’s drew the highest price to date for an American artist. $110,000,000. Diving into his work is a thrill, a cathartic party, especially with his life being so different than mine. I share this experience in our KFA blog because I suspect that fruitful creative processes have an origin in this kind of thrill.