In this post I wish to feature the work of New York graf artists who tagged under the name SAMO, but also the author of the photographs, Henry Flynt, who documented SAMO’s art during 1979 and 1980. I enjoy the way the pictures were taken, keeping the street art in it’s very own context. Signed by Jean-Michel Basquiat and his friend Al Diaz, SAMO’s messages, were political, clever and poetic. SAMO, a contraction of “same old” refers to a drug that can solve modern society’s problems.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the most influential and inspiring neo-expressionist artist of the past century, signed most of the wall art seen in these pictures before he was famous and if you are familiar with his art, you will recognize the writing style and message on the pictures here that were later reproduced in his famous paintings. There are unfortunately no more traces of SAMO’s art in the streets of New York today, the grafs were either painted over, either faded to history or they were taken down for resale by art vendors when Basquiat’s work became famous. These precious photographs are what’s left of SAMO’s wisdom.
For the art nerds who wish to dig in, read the photographer’s essay on SAMO here, or watch the movie “Basquiat, The Radiant Child”