A rare and poignant compilation of photography and written anecdotes by American photographer and artist Lee Jaffe that captures his close friendship, collaboration, and travels with the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat as they traversed Japan, Thailand, and Switzerland in 1983.
Lee Jaffe, a cross-disciplinary visual artist, musician, and poet, took photos of his friend, Jean-Michel Basquiat, when they traveled abroad in 1983. As a photographer, Jaffe had a connection to Basquiat, and their time spent together resulted in an archive of imagery that captured one of the art world’s true legends through an unfiltered and authentic lens.
Basquiat and Jaffe connected over reggae music at a mutual friend’s art show. It was the early 1980s in New York, when the art scene was raw, complicated, and thriving, and Jaffe cultivated strong connections with cultural figures such as Basquiat, Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh. “For me, watching him [ Jean] paint reminded me of the times I would sit and play harmonica while Bob Marley, with his acoustic guitar, would be writing songs that were eventually to become classics,” Jaffe says. “With Jean and Bob, it seemed like they were channeling inspiration coming from an otherworldly place.” This beautiful volume presents snapshots of Basquiat: from the artist smiling on a bullet train to Kyoto and behind-the-scenes documentation of Basquiat creating artwork in St. Moritz, to poignant portraits that mirror his undeniable magnetism. These rare depictions of Basquiat come to life with Jaffe’s unforgettable experiences of their friendship, collaborations, and travels detailed in private written memories and anecdotes. This insightful and moving illustrated volume captures the soul of the unedited, ambitious, young artist during the height of his short yet unprecedented artistic career.
About The Author
Lee Jaffe is an artist, photographer, filmmaker, musician, and producer. Franklin Sirmans is a writer, curator, and currently director of Perez Art Museum, Miami. J. Faith Almiron is a New York–based writer, editor, and cultural studies educator at Rutgers University and The Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.