The large mural now resides within a private collection and in recent years the work of Basquiat has been incredibly popular with art collectors, keen to acquire work from an artist who was ahead of his time in terms of social and political commentary within his paintings. In the present day, his messages are just as relevant as they were some three or four decades ago, although it is important to remember that at least some progress has been made in those years. The style here is very much in line with the graffiti approach, with rough applications of colour and form. We can see immediately the crowned heads displayed at the top which was a signature element of the artist's work. There is also a tall figure to the right who is completed as a full length portrait and stands menacingly, dominating the right hand side of the composition.
The art world has been full of developments across the ages, sometimes taking what has gone before and re-inventing it, and other times there would be a complete line in the sand moment at which point a new era would come in. Basquiat was possibly more of the latter, bringing new ideas and opinions that had not really been discussed before and his style was rarely found within the formal art setting. The streets had now become part of mainstream life, and this would have given hope to many artists who previously saw themselves on the fringes of society itself, not just the art industry. The level of success achieved by this artist was extraordinary, and the main driver of this ambition were the difficulties that he experienced within his own lifetime. We can today all admire the legacy that he left behind, much of which is still being felt very strongly today.
Basquiat worked in an Abstract Expressionist style, with several new twists to that which makes his work stand out considerably from the earlier interpretations of this style across Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Untitled (Boxer), In this Case and Cabeza deliver examples of his graffiti-led approach which was more modern and also boasted an entire culture of people living in urban areas, often on very limited means. One can feel a great connection to anyone who comes from such an impoverished background to achieve such success, at a level that very few American artists have ever achieved. This underlines his natural ability and also the strength of character necessary to overcome the inevitable barriers and knockbacks that he would surely have received, time and time again. This is one of the secrets for his immense popularity today and the huge respect that so many hold for him.