Director Tamra Davis explains why she held on to her footage of Jean Michel Basquiat for two decades
A good deal of buzz surrounded the New York premiere of “Radiant Child” a documentary about artist Jean Michel Basquiat at the MoMA this week. The conversations centered on director (and Beastie Boy Mike D’s wife) Tamra Davis — known for videos of the Lemonheads and others — since she held footage of her pal, the late Basquiat, for two decades.
Well, she explains a good bit of it in the video above, but to recap the themes of the film, which gives the viewer a basic primer course in the life of the charming young Basquiat, here it goes.
He started painting graffiti; hung out with painter/personality Fab Five Freddy and gave Andy Warhol a couple of his painted postcards one day. They became friends and through the downtown scene he shot to fame until it became too much for him and he shot heroin; got clean; went to Hawaii and LA; returned to NYC and overdosed.
Some of his so-called pals in the end, sold off paintings Basquiat had given them as gifts, for profit. Davis, however, a seemingly sensitive type, did not want to feel like she was profiting from his misguided death. So, she’s released it now as a tribute.
“Radiant Child” has opened in theaters throughout the US and Europe.