The Writing Process Blog Tour

O.k. So I’m on this blog tour because Nina Crews tags me.
I’ve never had a blog, but I figure maybe I have something to say so I’m deciding to try it out. I’m not sure what is going to be like, or what style it will take, but hopefully it will be interesting and maybe therapeutic for me or someone els in some way.
Also FYI, I’m breaking the questions (What am I working on?, How does my work differ from others of its genre?, Why do I write what I do?, How does my writing process work?) into four post.  I want to take the time to really answer these questions but I’m down to the wire on my deadline with little brown, so this way you have a little something to wet your whistle. The next post should be in about a week etc., and the last a week later. I see myself on average posting maybe once or twice a month.
With that said here we go!

What am I working on?
At the moment I’m finishing up a book on painter Jean Michele Basquiat. basquiat bio. The book is about how his relationship with his mother helped to create the prolific painter we all know and love today, Basquiat.

Jean Michele has a powerful story. He became a personal hero of mine because of his work ethic, intelligence, and audacity. He lived his life with all his heart and soul, and created his art the same way–always full of passion and always uniquely his own. I have a profound respect for that, which is why I was inspired to create a book about Artist Jean-Michele Basquiat. Here is a little bit about the book:
This is a story about how one young boy in Brooklyn grew up to be one of the most legendary and compelling figures in recent art history. The story explores his major influences—the sights and sounds of New York City, the art museums he visited, the jazz records that played at home, and most importantly, his love for his mother, Matilde. As Jean-Michele was once quoted, “I’d say my mother gave me all the primary things. The art came from her.”

I first became familiar with Basquiat’s work while roaming the streets of New York’s Greenwich Village. However, it wasn’t until the 2005 Brooklyn Museum exhibit that I truly understood the depth of his work. Seeing his work in person and taking in its full breadth for the first time, I felt something beyond his interesting figures and exciting color combinations. I saw deep thinking and academic intellect guiding and informing his process. Jean-Michele’s work was never random. He valued knowledge and expressed it in every piece he created —every choice he made had a purpose. I would like to help young picture book readers enjoy the same transformative moment with your brother’s work.

like him I use pieces of New York to make the artwork in this book. Painting on richly textured pieces of Brooklyn from dumpster dives at museums, brownstones, and various places in the village and Lower East Side. My use of found objects are a way for me to invite my audience to see every day life with curiosity and be inspired to create using the materials, people, places, and things in their environment.

I’d also like young readers and the adults in their lives to experience the healing elements in Jean-Michele’s story. As someone whose mother suffers from mental illness, I believe this story can touch on an important topic for many children, as diagnosable mental disorder affects about one in four adults every year. The way that Jean-Michele coped with is mother’s illness is inspiring. Using art to rebuild and sustain his relationship with his mother, he turned a challenging situation into a path to becoming a successful and timeless artist. His story can be a catalyst for conversation and inspiration for children dealing with similar situations.

O.k. That’s all for now! Tune in next week same bat time same Bat channel when I will tackle question # 2.

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