Spring Concert Blog Series: Prince

2019’s Spring Concert

In preparation for our Spring Concert on April 6th and 7th, we’ve chosen Prince Rogers Nelson as the next artist of the 1980’s to present to spotlight.

Prince V Mag

Prince for V Magazine in 2013.

Artist Profile

Prince is known for his flamboyant style and emotional ballads. Both of his parents were musicians and he wrote his first song at seven years old. He grew up extremely poor, once saying in an interview that as a child he would stand outside of McDonald’s just to smell the food; at the time of his death in 2016, his net worth was around $200 million. 

Prince released his debut album at 19 years old, on which he played all 27 instruments. His philosophy toward music was unique. He disliked working on a piece for too long and constantly wanted to move forward in his music. He claimed to record a new song every day, resulting in an impressive breadth of work.

 

Body of Work

Prince Guitar

Prince performing Purple Rain

Prince released a total of 39 albums in his lifetime and one posthumous album. He was a musical force to be reckoned with. In addition to those released album, there are rumored to be 50 full length albums of unreleased music in a vault at his private residential compound, Paisely Park.

While he produced the majority of his work as a solo artists, he formed several short-lived bands throughout his career. As a skilled instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, and writer, his work extended to tens of other artists aside from his own impressive discography.

 

Impact

Many artists cite Prince as an influence. He helped shape the sound of 80’s funk through his use of synthesizers and drum machines. Over 50 hit songs by other artists credit him as a songwriter, and he wrote even more under at least four pseudonyms. 

It can be argued that Prince’s style was as influential as his music; his outfits and makeup disrupted gender norms and expectations. His style was so key to his artistic persona that he employed ten live-in tailors at Paisely Park. After his death, figures from musical artists to then-president Barrack Obama expressed their admiration and sympathy for the late performer. 


For more information about TAYB’s Annual Spring Concert click here. 

Spring Concert Blog Series: Basquiat

2019’s Spring Concert

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet is excited to announce that this year’s Spring Concert will be themed in the period of the 1980s to present! Our Spring Concert will be April 6th and 7th this year. To prepare for the Spring Concert, we will be publishing a series of blog posts spotlighting different artists of the era.

Self-portrait Basquiat completed in 1983.

Artist Profile

Jean-Michel Basquiat started as a street graffiti artist in Brooklyn.His parents began taking him to art museums at a young age. As a result, Basquiat came to admire Picasso and Warhol, whose influences are evident in his work. He began selling sweaters and postcards featuring his artwork around New York. As a self-taught artist, his style is raw and emotive. His work is also fiercely political. In his works, he critiqued consumerism and systems of racism.

 

Body of Work

Untitled (Top Left), Fishing (Top Right), and Grillo (Bottom)

Basquiat incorporated a lot of skulls in his work in a characteristic crayon-like style. He also completed several self-portraits. In his career as an artist, he produced over 1,500 drawings and around 600 paintings.

Impact

Basquiat rose to fame with the Neo-Expressionist wave. Much of his work surrounded the exploration of black identity. Not having the representation of royalty to draw from that white Europeans do, he included the motif of a crown in his works to emphasize the power of everyday black people.

One of the goals of his work was to bring black bodies to the visible forefront of the Western cultural canon. He succeeded in doing so, both in his works and in becoming an artistic legend himself.


For more information about TAYB’s Annual Spring Concert click here.