Before his career as a painter began, he produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street, and became known for the political–poetical graffiti under the name of SAMO. On one occasion Basquiat painted his girlfriend’s dress with the words “Little Shit Brown”. He would often draw on random objects and surfaces, including other people’s property. The conjunction of various media is an integral element of Basquiat’s art. His paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more.
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The early 1980s were Basquiat’s breakthrough years. In June 1980, Basquiat participated in The Times Square Show, a multi-artist exhibition sponsored by Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab) and Fashion Moda. Other artists in the show included David Hammons, Jenny Holzer, Lee Quiñones, Kenny Scharf and Kiki Smith. The show was held in a vacant building at 41st Street and Seventh Avenue, New York.