Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Illustration & Samo tag

While perusing my photo files, I came across a gem: an illustration by Jean Michel Basquiat published in the SoHo Weekly News on October 5th, 1978. This may, in fact, be Jean Michel’s first published artwork.

The illo was signed by the young master himself using his graffiti tag “Samo,” short for “same old shit.” In this context, the tag seems to be a reference to our nation’s love of money.

This illo appeared two months before the famous Village Voice article that really introduced Jean Michel to most of the downtown scene. Both the illo with tag and the original Samo story were displayed as part of Boom Basquiat. Afterwards, I returned both items to Al Diaz, who had given them to me before anyone realized how valuable they would become.

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