+26 Basquiat Art Lesson Elementary

Pin by Terrie Bentley on Jean Michel Basquiat Art lessons, Art, Jean michel basquiat
Pin by Terrie Bentley on Jean Michel Basquiat Art lessons, Art, Jean michel basquiat from www.pinterest.co.uk

Basquiat Art Lesson for Elementary Students


Art education plays a crucial role in the development of young minds, allowing students to express themselves creatively and explore different artistic techniques. One influential artist that can inspire elementary students is Jean-Michel Basquiat. Known for his bold and expressive graffiti-style artwork, Basquiat's unique style and cultural references make him an ideal subject for an art lesson. In this article, we will explore a step-by-step guide to teaching a Basquiat-inspired art lesson for elementary students.


Before diving into the lesson, it's important to gather all the necessary materials. Here's a list of what you'll need:

  • Canvas or heavy paper
  • Acrylic paints in vibrant colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Markers or oil pastels
  • Palette or disposable plate for mixing colors
  • Water cup and paper towels

Introduction to Jean-Michel Basquiat

Begin the lesson by introducing Jean-Michel Basquiat to the students. Show them some examples of his artwork, highlighting his use of bold colors, graffiti-style writing, and incorporation of symbols and cultural references. Explain that Basquiat was a prominent artist in the 1980s New York City art scene, known for his unique blend of street art and fine art.

Discussion on Symbols and Cultural References

Engage the students in a discussion about symbols and cultural references in art. Ask them to identify any symbols they see in Basquiat's artwork, such as crowns, skulls, or words. Discuss the meaning behind these symbols and how they can convey a message or emotion in art. Encourage the students to think about symbols or references they could incorporate into their own artwork.

Creating a Basquiat-inspired Background

Guide the students in creating a Basquiat-inspired background for their artwork. Provide them with a canvas or heavy paper and encourage them to choose vibrant colors of acrylic paint. Instruct them to paint bold, expressive brushstrokes on their canvas, overlapping colors and experimenting with different textures. Emphasize the importance of freedom and spontaneity in creating the background.

Adding Symbols and Text

Once the background is dry, instruct the students to add symbols and text to their artwork using markers or oil pastels. Encourage them to think about personal symbols, cultural references, or words that hold meaning for them. Remind them to channel Basquiat's style by using bold lines and a graffiti-like aesthetic. Encourage experimentation and remind students that there are no right or wrong choices in art.

Exploring Basquiat's Color Palette

Take a moment to discuss Basquiat's color palette with the students. Point out his use of vibrant, contrasting colors and how they contribute to the energy and impact of his artwork. Provide the students with a variety of acrylic paint colors and encourage them to experiment with color combinations on their own artwork. Remind them to be bold and fearless in their color choices.

Emphasizing Individuality

Throughout the lesson, emphasize the importance of individuality and self-expression in art. Remind the students that Basquiat's artwork was unique to him and that their own artwork should reflect their personal style and experiences. Encourage them to embrace their creativity and take risks in their artistic choices.

Sharing and Reflection

Once the students have completed their Basquiat-inspired artwork, create a sharing and reflection session. Allow each student to present their artwork to the class, explaining the symbols and references they incorporated. Encourage the students to ask questions and provide positive feedback to their peers. This sharing session not only builds confidence but also fosters a sense of community within the classroom.

Extension Activities

To further engage the students with Basquiat's artwork, consider incorporating the following extension activities:

  • Research Basquiat's life and artistic journey, and have the students create a timeline or biography of the artist.
  • Explore other artists from the graffiti or street art movement and compare their styles and techniques with Basquiat's.
  • Encourage the students to create their own Basquiat-inspired poem or piece of creative writing, focusing on themes or symbols seen in his artwork.
  • Visit a local art museum or gallery to view Basquiat's artwork in person, if possible.


Teaching a Basquiat-inspired art lesson for elementary students not only introduces them to a prominent artist but also encourages self-expression, creativity, and cultural exploration. By incorporating Basquiat's bold style and symbols into their own artwork, students can develop their artistic skills while gaining a deeper understanding of the power of art. This lesson serves as a springboard for further artistic exploration and appreciation.