living like a dog turd without shame or regret


ARTS CURATED: (Un)Masked: Jean-Michel Basquiat

Zydeco by Jean-Michel Basquiat

I find myself in a bit of a struggle with the first movement of the trumpet/organ piece I am writing based largely on African American Spirituals. Recently I changed the spiritual for the first movement from Bye and Bye to Better Be Ready. But I have had several false starts using this tune as well. I now think I may have developed some decent ideas.  This experiences caused me to ponder how I find myself thinking about how one can jump start one’s basic creative impulse.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Portrait of Glenn, 1985.

Portrait of Glen, Basquiat

One way i do this is simple improvisation. This can pay off to prime the pump a bit. Improvising has been a life long exploration for me of my own personal aesthetic. It also has been a well spring of ideas and satisfaction that has never run dry. Unlike composing.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Horn Players, 1983, acrylic and oilstick on three canvas panels mounted on wood supports, 243.8 x 190.5 cm (The Broad Art Foundation) © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat ([zoomable image here](

Horn Players, Basquiat

Yesterday, I decided to use visual arts to see if it might help me beginning to think more imaginatively about my first movement. I sat down with books of art by two of my favorites: Dubuffet and Basquiat.

This did seem to help and I managed to sketch some interesting basic ideas that might work out in the long run one way or another.

Besides their work, both artists had quotes in the books that I liked.

Jean Dubuffet, 1979. "Art doesn't go to sleep in the bed made for ...

Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)

“For a very long time I was too humble … and lacking in confidence and composure; and I suffered cruelly because of this, appearing in my own eyes to be nothing more than the most abject dog turd. It was only at a late stage—when in the end I had resigned myself to living like a dog turd without shame or regret and making the best of the situation—that it dawned  on me that everyone else was also a dog turd.”

Jean Dubuffet - Chien, 1960 | Phillips

Jean Dubuffet, Chien, 1960

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

“People think I’m burning out, but I’m not. Some days I can’t get an idea, and i think, man, I’m just washed up, but it’s just a mood.” Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat - 6 Interesting Facts • artlistr

Last time I was at the Detroit Institute of Arts, I asked if they had any Basquiat. Nope. That’s a serious omission, i think.



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