Phillips: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work stands the test of time as his 1982 piece, ironically titled Untitled, makes its monumental debut and tours internationally in 2022. We created a video for Phillips that sought to capture the creative process of Basquiat that has more to do with his life experiences than art itself.
what we did
We wanted to paint outside the lines and create a video that pulls from themes in Basquiat’s life through a moody and cinematic lens. With Untitled, commonly known as “Devil”, being one of the most sought after pieces of Basquiat’s all-too-short career, we were inspired to create a video that reflected his artwork. Influenced by the vibrant brush strokes in his larger-than-life piece that explores self-identity, we created a narrative that speaks to the spirit. Incorporating the underlying complexities around race, poverty, sex, and classism as a backdrop, we transported viewers into the city lifestyle, montaging imagery like a flashback to the 80s.
In concepting this sequence, we took the mediums themselves and used them as an abstraction, as seen in the plexiglass shot. We positioned the camera in a way that reminds the viewer about the life of these tools and how Basquiat used them to tell his story. We tribute Basquiat’s gifted way of portraying abstract self-expressionism, the barriers he broke and the legacy he left behind.
- creative director: alan williams
- design: alphonse swinehart
- editor: danielle white
- additional photography: christian haberkern
- microsite developer: neal st. clair • east of western
- animation: alex maltsev
- design intern: soyeon kim
- producer: keith bryant
- senior production coordinator: jake fritz