Jean-Michel Basquiat

1985 Interview

On childhood

BJ: So when you were about twelve years old or so, what did you imagine you'd be doing right now, at this age?
JMB: See, at that age, I never thought about professions or anything. That's what I mean by "naive." I never thought about what I'd be doing to make money, stuff like that I never thought about it. ...

On beginnings

BJ: So who was the first person who responded to your work professionally?
JMB: Diego gave me my first show-Diego Cortez.
BJ: Was that New York/ New Wave at P.S.1?
JMB: Yeah, that was my first show. First person who bought it ... I think the first person who bought a painting was Paula [Greif]. Do you know her?
BJ: Oh yeah. So before you had a dealer, you were just selling work on your own? People would come over and look at the stuff?
JMB: I used to sell postcards for a dollar, 1 colour Xeroxed [stuff].
BJ: You also painted on paper and sold them at Patricia Field's, didn't you?
JMB: Yeah.

Sally Cruikshank

1980 Interview

On characterization

"All my characters are very emotional; for instance Anita is easily angered ... the model sheet is used not just to show the proportions of character--whether they're three heads tall or six heads tall--but also to give some idea of the emotional aspect of the character, how to treat them in different situations.
I like to really take a lot of liberties distorting the characters, because I think you can get really the personality of the character expressed through distortions rather than sort of rigidly having them walk around, just opening and shutting their mouths and acting the same way."

On process in the 70's

"The animation cel process was so labour-intensive and tedious. It was kind of phenomenally difficult. Really hard if you were entirely on your own. I hired a lot of friends to paint cels. You just had to ask for favours. Everybody was so poor! I was paying them like 50 cents a cel. People were able to live on a fairly small salary then."