Photocopy and Collage
Basquiat began many paintings by pasting his own drawings—or photocopies of them—onto the canvas. Some of the drawings are spare, economical meditations, distilling an idea into the meanderings of line. Others are dense with deposits of marks and words. The collage ground they created gave Basquiat a surface to which he responded with painted imagery. The collage technique produced dense and complex surfaces in his paintings. They recall the artist's urban milieu—outdoor walls layered with posters, paint, dirt, and graffiti that he encountered every day in New York City. They are also reminiscent of Cubist collage, though rather than integrate visual materials from the outside world, such as signs and newspapers, as Picasso and Braque generally did, Basquiat used copies of his own works as collage elements, reaffirming the authority of his own controlling hand in his closed universe of marks.
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