Today's dead addict is Jean-Michel Basquiat. He achieved some notoriety in New York, and exhibited his work there in the late seventies and through the eighties. He got his start as a grafitti artist, but he broadened his range through his career. Here's some information about the painter, who died of a heron overdose at the age of 28 in 1988, from Emory's website:
Very little criticism has been done examining the work produced by Jean-Michel Basquiat. While his place in the history of American art is still under dispute, it cannot be denied that during the eight years that he painted, his much of his work examines the legacy of the colonial enterprise and his relationship to that legacy. Whether recasting the work of European masters like Leonardo Davinci in his own terms or recounting events from Haitian, Puerto Rican, African and African American history, Basquiat presented a vision of a fragmented self in search of an organizing principle. Now, ten years after his death, critics can revisit his work apart from the taint of the market-driven art boom of the 1980s. Perhaps some of the tools developed in the field of postcolonial studies will help to unlock some of the mysteries contained in the work of this fascinating and complex artist.
And here's some quotes from him:
"I had some money, I made the best paintings ever. I was completely reclusive, worked a lot, took a lot of drugs. I was awful to people."
"I start a picture and I finish it. I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life."
And an example of how addicts have 2 brains, functioning side by side, always working to achieve opposing ends:
"I thought I was going to be a bum the rest of my life."
"Since I was 17 I thought I might be a star."
And here's a link to an article about Basquiat that begins with a fabulous line:
"The only thing the market liked better than a hot young artist was a dead hot young artist, and it got one in Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose working life of about nin years was truncated by a heroin overdose at the age of twenty-seven."