Analysis Of The Artwork Scull By Jean-Michel Basquiat
The artwork that I chose is called Scull. The artist that created the artwork is Jean-Michel Basquiat, which was created in 1981. Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, and he was attracted to graffiti. After his artwork took off, he became worth $10 million. He later died at age 28, due to a drug overdose. The style of Scull is, Neo-Expressionism according to Wiki Art, which means this is an artwork that is mythological, cultural, historical, and national themes. This painting took months for Basquiat to create, compared to others that only took about a day to complete. I selected this image because of all the different colors used and the way the eyes look. There are many different colors, textures, and shapes being used in this artwork.
In the artwork I see a face, that has the look that it hasn’t been completely put together. I see the shape of a head, teeth, hair, eyes, jaw, and nose. The mouth is drawn down that shows to me that there is no happiness. It is even showing it like it is mad or disgusted about something in its life. Around the jawline, I see what looks like a scar/broken jaw. This perhaps could mean that the person has been in many fights or blows to the jawline leaving pain left afterwards or a memory form of the incident. I see the brain partitioned off into many different segments, each one telling their own story. Some look like they are happy with bright colors, and that they have also had happy times during the sad times. There are images that appear dark and cloudy. Perhaps this is during a depression or some type of emotional setback in their life. The eyes say a lot. They are not the same in size, and they have different colors. One looks sad and withdrawn, where the other one looks like it is trying to search for something, in hope that things will get better. Maybe it is even trying to find an answer to their problems that have been created. There is a lot going on inside this person’s mind that seems to not be able to make sense of the world that they are living in. This is how they are feeling emotionally and are out of reach of reality.
This picture is somewhat disturbing because it shows so much emotion in it. It simply looks like it doesn’t make any sense, and that Basquiat possibly made this picture when he was on drugs. Perhaps this is how he felt when he was choosing to do the drugs. This picture is definitely coming from a very broken soul that could not find answers and that seems like that he ended his life so early. Perhaps a mental disorder that was not diagnosed because there was not technology then, like there is today.
Overall the picture is a mess, that is looking somewhat to try to become a whole again. Scull achieves unity because of the different shapes used to form the face, also by the texture used to make the hair stand up on his head. All the different colors are coming together to really try to bring this piece of artwork to life. There is a part of me that believes unity isn’t fully achieved here because the artwork seems to be falling apart, and does not look completely put together. The brain in the skull is such a mess, nothing seems to go together, and it is practically in shambles. The colors that surround the inside and outside of the skull are showing that his thoughts are cloudy on the inside and on the outside. The composition in this artwork is very messy, but does a great job of getting the point across to whoever is looking at the artwork. The design was used here to show how much hurt a person can contain. This artwork is a perfect example of asymmetrical balance, nothing at all in this picture is perfectly balanced. When looking at the image, the skull is facing to the left, and is closer to the bottom of the picture than to the top. One eye is higher than the other, and none of the teeth perfectly match each other on the top or bottom.
All of the lines are going in different ways and directions, and none of the shapes are exactly the same size. When you read the image, you are supposed to look at the eyes first. It will point out to you then that they look confused, and sad. You will then start to notice how sad this artwork actually is. You will look at the broken/missing teeth and jaw. You will look at the nose, and then the brain. Once you get to the brain you see how much is really going on in this picture. I believe Basquiat put the most emphasis in the brain, there are so many shapes and different colors, that really gets the point across how confused this skull really is. After the brain, you will look at all the space outside of the skull. The different colors tend to add to the confusion of the whole artwork. Basquiat used blue, orange, red, and white to represent that confusion. It somewhat acts as a cloud surrounding the skull at all times, never going away. It helps give the sense of how much hurt is truly in this artwork.
The artwork is a skull that has eyes, nose, teeth, and a ton of other things going on around it. To me it is a face that is incomplete, it is someone that has gone through a lot of hurt. It has broken bones, missing parts, and looks very sad. To me the underlying meaning is that not everyone is complete, people are hurting, sad, and depressed inside. I believe that it also shows anger in the individual, by the different segments of the picture. There is a lot of dark black marks that are etched on the forehead, which shows me there is a lot of confusion in the individual. As he is trying to make sense of what is real and what is not real, also trying to make sense of their life. The smile is drawn downward which shows that they are very sad or mad. It looks like perhaps that this could be self-inflicted pain to the sections of the face. Maybe they did not like what they see when they look in the mirror. The broken sections each show different kinds of pain. There is a lot of dark colors which is an example that there is darkness feelings in their life. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, there is no hope or happiness to be seen. Nothing to look forward to in the future, maybe they think there is no way out. There are distinct lines that appear to look like scars or stitches, or the sections that have been sewn back together. Sewing the broken feelings and pain back together one by one, hoping that if he does this then he will be ok eventually. The eyes are looking down, as if there is nothing left to look forward to. The world around looks unclear with the different colors used, maybe he doesn’t know where in life he is, and is just trying to figure out where he belongs.
After examining this picture so much, it allowed me to see how depressed an individual can be. You can see the pain and confusion that is going on in their mind. I think that Basquiat had drawn this picture when he was in a deep state of depression. There was definitely a lot going on in his life and in his mind. He was able to put his feelings and his emotions down through his artwork to create beautiful pieces that other people can relate to. It definitely makes you really think about what exactly is it saying, or what he is really trying to portray in this piece of artwork. I think it is a beautiful piece of art, what I like most about it is all the colors that are going on, and the overall idea. From the picture itself to the background, there has to be an imagination going on there with everything that is drawn sticks out.
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