This project circles around one question: if Basquiat were alive today, what would a painting made by him about our current world look like? I ventured to research and read as much as I could about Basquiat’s life and working methods, how he liked to paint, and what materials he used. Many sources say that he held many books open on his studio floor to read and gather source material, with one of his most popular sources being Grey’s Anatomy, a book that was given to him by his mother as a child in the hospital after he was hit by a car. Using excerpts from this book and many other sources of inspiration, whether it be real life, my native language of Spanish (which Basquiat used in his works), or through real life, I wanted to capture the urgency we are currently feeling with the means that Basquiat employed.
I titled this work The Sympathetic Nerve after the nerve that goes by the same name, which was derived from the Greek word pathos. The sympathetic nerve is made up of a series of ganglia that run up and down the spinal cord, and for them to work, they must act together as if in sympathy. I believe this concept is analogous to the current state of our world. When we act separately, we are divided and thus unable to achieve our goals. However, when we exhibit sympathy and work together, we will be able to see the change we hope for in our world. I believe this must be the backbone of our society in order to achieve meaningful change, and it is my hope that this artwork can symbolize the beginning of this path.