Born in New York in 1960, he quickly became a legend in the art world. His work is still in debate and he has left an impression on many different generations of artists across the globe.
His artistic practice and the social context surrounding his life is a great source of inspiration for modern artists. Whether it be the graffiti he made in the 1980s or the paintings he did later on, his art is often seen as a reflection of his inner self.
He was an extremely sensitive and talented artist who had a keen eye for symbolism. His talent and dedication led him to be known as one of the greatest artists in history.
The enigmatic and abrasive graffiti style that he was famous for was an apt metaphor for the intense and dangerous times he lived in. At the time, New York was at a peak of cool and glamour but also a breeding ground for revolution.
As an African American, he used his art as a means of examining racism in the society. His work included an epic figuration, based on the West African griot who propagated community history through storytelling and song.
He drew on his childhood experience and the way that his mother treated him as she struggled with her mental health. He drew from his own experiences of racial violence and discrimination to create a series of works that were both political and highly personal.