Sadly, relatively little is known about this painting and that can be said for a large number of Basquiat paintings, with his own personality and style being far more famous than any specific artworks. That said, Trumpet, Skull and Untitled Boxer can be described as well known pieces and those three also capture some of the trademark elements of this artist's work. Earth is, however, much more abstract than any of these, reducing down a complex planet into just a single line. It is genius in some ways, to be able to summarise something with such simplicity. It may have been that Basquiat was seeking to amend his style at this point, though he is still very much working within the Neo-Expressionist movement, even with this slight change of style.
Basquiat loved to try out all manner of different mediums in his work, most of which are available from everyday art stores. These would include oil sticks which perhaps appear the most across his career, along with more widely used acrylics. He concentrated on colour and imagination within his work, expressing himself as openly as possible and without concern for depicting elements too perfectly. Whilst he was known to have respected the techniques of past masters, such as Titian for example, he did not want to work in the same style and instead attempted to create a contemporary approach which tackled some of the issues that were important to him. These would include protecting his own afro-caribbean community from some of the unfair treatment that they had received, as he saw it, as well as other themes related to religion and war.
A further complicating factor to his life and career were Basquiat's own personal issues, including his battle with narcotics and mental health issues which would both drive much of his work, but also impede many areas of his life. He was even homeless for a period and truly understood the problems of the poor, whilst most of his colleagues in the New York art scene were from white middle class families and fairly disconnected from such people. Despite these differences he was still able to make good friends within the artistic community who were predominantly left-leaning liberals who wanted to help promote some of the causes for which he was so passionate. That said, not all sections of the art community were quite so welcoming as this, and so barriers did come up in front of him from time to time.