Friday, February 28, 2020

How to Recreate Jean Michel-Basquiat's Painting

Hello Everyone! Cinnamon here and I am going to introduce you to the art of Jean Michel-Basquiat
for today’s tutorial to close out Black History month! He was an African American painter of Haitian
and Puerto Rican descent who’s work rose to fame in the 80s. His neo-expressionist paintings were
exhibited internationally and often contained political commentary that tackled class and race.
Today's tutorial is based on his painting that he created called Pez Dispenser. I hope you all will
have as much fun as I had in creating this.

Aluminum wire
Creative paperclay
acrylic paint
Masking tape
sanding sheet
Exacto knife

I began this piece by building out the armature. I used a thick 16 gauge wire. I started by building up
the legs and slowly working to the top. 

When I got to this stage I wrapped the wire around a few times to make sure that the piece is secure
and stable.

When I am building something based on a reference I like to look at it and compare the entire time
that I am working. I wanted to make sure that the legs were in the right position before adding the
clay to it. Since things were looking right in this stage, I felt comfortable moving on to the next step
which is bulking out the piece with newspaper and masking tape.

I started adding the first rough layer of clay here. I sat the piece aside and allowed it to dry for at
least 24 hours.

After the piece dried I went back and built up the layers that needed more work done on them.

This is the part where I realized that Basquiat took some creative liberties in creating this dinosaur.
He added spikes on to what appeared to be a T-Rex. It's more like a cross bread between a T-Rex
and a Stegosaurus. I made little triangles and dipped them into water and pretty much mashed them
in place until they stuck to the dried clay.


Just sizing up the piece to see how close it was to the original.

After a few layers of clay, I begin to start smoothing out the clay by sanding it.

Here I started making some of the teeth

Just comparing the piece again to make sure that I am staying on track

The great thing about paperclay is that you can draw on it like paper, hence the name. This helps a
lot in the planning stages of how you decide to paint the piece.

Here I am starting to paint the piece so that it looks like the painting.

Alphie stopped by to visit to see how the piece was coming along, he was surprised to see how big
he was!


These are the acrylic rods that I used to make the crown appear to be floating. I couldn't find them at
first so I installed them after I created the piece, and cut into it with an exacto knife. I would have
made an indent while the piece was drying to stick the rod into so that I wouldn't have to take a risk
on ruining the piece by cutting afterwards. It worked out well so I I will show you the steps on how I
made the crown below.

After painting, I cut a small square into the top of the head just large enough for the rod to go into.
As mentioned before, this would be easier if the rod was fitted while the clay is still wet. I got the rods
late so I had to go this route and cut into the piece afterwards.

The crown was made by using a piece of cut cardboard

I bulked this out with clay and fitted the rod in place while the clay was still wet

Here is the finished piece in all of it's glory! 

Thank you all once again for stopping by, and I hope that you enjoyed today's tutorial! You can find
Creative Paperclay® at the following retailers Creative Paperclay® Online Store, Michael's, Amazon,

See more of my work at and be sure to catch updates on

my Instagram page! 

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