Basquiat painted his $110.5 million painting when he was just 22 years old

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982Image: Sotheby's Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982
Image: Sotheby's

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, in 1960, Basquiat began his career as a street artist, selling drawings for just $50.

Meteoric rise from poverty to stardom

In the short time Basquiat was on the art scene, he made an incredible impact. Rising from homelessness and unemployment, the star had suffered domestic abuse from his Haitian father and watched his Puerto Rican mother's battle with mental illness, all of which he portrayed on his expressive and intense canvases.

New York couldn't miss him


Along with Al Diaz, Basquiat created SAMO, a street art tag that the covered the streets of New York with, particularly SoHo, New York's gallery district.

From these works of street art came Basquiat's Neo-expressionist and primitive works, bold with color and skeleton faces.

And neither could America

As police brutally was rife amongst the black communities of America, with police even beating black graffiti artists to death, Basquiat stood as a symbol of defiance His work criticized power, colonialism, class conflict and violence. During the 1980s, he was the only black artist to find a permanent place as a black painter in a white art world.