This morning, I got the chance to watch a bio-film about Jean Michel Basquiat. I was already intrigued about his work as artist due to his affiliation with pop artist, Andy Warhol. Being an artist requires integrity. How can we stay true to ourselves when we can’t stay true to our art/craft/aesthetic. Whatever we do as art (in my case, martial arts and fashion) should be treated like a sanctuary. A utopia where negativity becomes positive or creative energy, Lines aren’t always straight, and coloring outside the lines, etc.
Despite his efforts to remain true, he was inevitably exploited from his talents whereas it destroyed himself and the very few people who supported him when he had nothing. As I watched this, I question the battle between fame vs integrity. Is this price of fame we all strive for? Do we confuse success with fame? People constantly dissecting our lives like a scientist performing a genetic experiment? Will my integrity be altered in such circumstances? Some of the most artistic and influential people are often the most loneliest. A high cloud where the layman would not begin to comprehend. The only language that speaks to them is the art, not the artist.
The truth of the matter lies he wanted the drug of fame but unaware of what side effects it could deliver. For example, he was a heavy drug addict. A man’s escape from reality has manifested into a tragic exit. From a series of unprecedented short comings, I became angry of the inability to become a top martial artist competitor, having my fashion label, and styling work. I resented the phrase, “in due time”. However, I reflected from my shortcomings and appreciated it. Experience added fuel to push forward in life. Moderation is key!! Excessive dosage of anything can plunge the individual. This is what I have learned from Basquiat. Seeing how people can treat you and how you treat others (Whether you in the elite or an underdog) is essential. No matter what we experience, must maintain that integrity. I will use his life as a lesson of awareness (minues the drugs; I am drug free). I hope my years of martial arts experience helps reinforces that.