Jean-Michel Basquiat & SAMO

March 26, 2015

1977 to 1980 marks the point in graffiti history that the legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat first came to the public attention with his SAMO graffiti on the streets. Though associated just with Basquiat, it was actually developed along with high school friends Al Diaz and Shannon Dawson for a comic. Pronounced same-oh, the saying is said to have come from a stoned talk and calling their marijuana the same old shit, later shortened to same old, then eventually SAMO. The graffiti took the form of short phrases, usually poetic or sarcastic and was created in the Manhattan area of New York City. The graffiti started to get noticed, but Diaz wanted to remain anonymous while Basquiat enjoyed the attention, even meeting Keith Haring in 1979 because he had noticed SAMO. Basquiat killed off the graffiti with a final SAMO IS DEAD in 1980 as his career in the art world began to take off.

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