Analysis of Jean-Michel Basquiat's Artpiece Dustheads

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Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Dustheads” is an eye-catching work of art (1982). Just at a first glance, the piece looks as if were made of chalk. The artist uses smooth streaks of acrylic to achieve this look, some areas with a bit of a fade. Lines are used throughout this piece for the viewer’s eye to travel around. Basquiat uses a variety of colors on what is two figures, their faces being the part that is emphasized.

He uses white as an outline for the bodies, and for the streaks all around the piece. This is what creates the movement; one can look from the left and go all around to the other side. With this piece, there is not so much as a main point. The background is black, however different colors are dominating the piece. The two figures take up a good amount of space, side by side and pops of orange and white surrounding them.

On the faces, Basquiat uses multiple colors for what would be their skin, and outlines their eyes and mouths with black. Both of their facial expressions are wide-eyed and create a sense of alertness. “Dustheads” has no proper organization; that is what makes up the piece. Considering Basquiat’s background, there is no doubt that his mind heavily influenced this piece, and many others. The expressions of the piece are the more important point. The eyes on both figures are dramatically painted. They are portrayed as if they are alert and full of energy. On one of the faces, the mouth is closed. It is as if they are trying to keep themselves calm, despite being attentive. The face on the right, however, has their mouth wide open and is curved into a smile. This one has no point in trying to hide their vibrancy and goes all out.

The figure also has their arms up in the air and their hands opened up. There is a situation that one could be in to look like any of these expressions, that being the mind on drugs. Jean-Michel’s artworks are heavily influenced by the way his mind worked. It was not unknown that he took LSD, and created something in what he felt like his brain was going through. All of his artworks are the same style with emphasized expressions being the main point of the piece. This explains the use of so many colors and random brush strokes scattered around his works. Basquiat felt that his mind had so much going on, he felt like he was all over the place. “Dustheads” (1982) is a very straightforward piece that leads you into his brain.

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