We can immediately spot several anatomical additions here, and is common for this artist's career. There is then a complex arrangement of different objects which share a common message, though it is hard to decipher initially. Even with our knowledge of the artist's work from other paintings, it can still take time to piece together the different clues which fit together to create an overall narrative. Basquiat limits himself to black and red lines akin to a relaxed brainstorming session, but Peptic Ulcer is actually today worth many millions of dollars, one would imagine. His work remains highly prized and anyone who already owns some of his titles will be aware of their considerable valuations that have risen substantially in the last two decades.
There are artists every now and again who spearhead a revolution within the arts world, and Basquiat can be said to have been one such example of that. Graffiti art existed before his time, and will continue much longer from now, but it was rare to see it within formal galleries. The content that he used with a social-conscience was also exciting and rare. Today we continue to celebrate the achievements that he made against all odds, and place his work within the context of American art building up a strong output which was now leading the art world, rather than following others as had normally been the case before. He would play an important role within that, and there are a number of interesting aspects to his overall contributions, however short his life may have ultimately been. The value of his achievements is underlined in part by the astronomical valuations now received by his work at auction.
In recent years there has been an effort to document and collate all of the artist's work together. You will find the likes of Leeches, Liberty and Fishing featured within long publications that really help us to survey his oeuvre from top down, seeing his evolution as an artist and also noting repetitive elements such as his iconographic language. One can understand each artwork better when we know of the story behind these paintings, such as about the artist himself and the difficult times that he experienced, particularly in his early years. Abstract Expressionists across the 20th century were all about taking their inner emotions, some of which would be turbulent, and placing them onto the canvas and without these issues they may well never have been as good an artist as it provided much of their inspiration and drive.