Talking to Jeffrey Bienvenido Pena

Question : Tell me about “Bust of SAMO”

The “Bust of SAMO” piece is an homage painting to one of my favorite artists of all time, Jean Michel Basquiat. The painting itself was a bit of an experiment with color. I started layering colors that might not normally be seen near each other – this complex relationship of colors are something I get from Basquiat paintings. The image is then “ghosted” over and his portrait is drawn into the remaining silhouette.

Basquiat is also known for his SAMO graffiti. Samo, short for “same ol’ shit.” was often followed by a message. The SAMO writing series ended with the epitaph “Samo is dead.” This painting includes small symbols that are often found in Basquiat’s paintings such as the triple point crown. Embedded within the grain of the wood you can find many of phrases Basquiat scribed through out the city. These sayings include: “SAMO for the so called avant garde.” “SAMO as a neo art form.” SAMO a pin drops like a pungent odor.” ” SAMO as an escape clause.” and “The whole livery line , bow like this with, the big money all, crushed into these feet.

I see myself making more homage pieces in the future but moreso I see myself studying the techniques. I think that Basquiat was one of those artists that makes you question not only your technique but your approach to creating works.

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