Shooting Basquiat | Paige Powell


Photographer, art curator and Warhol acolyte Paige Powell was instrumental in the art world’s discovery of her then boyfriend Jean-Michel Basquiat. In January 2014 she exhibited a collection of nudes of Basquiat at the Suzanne Geiss Gallery in New York in January. She remembers shooting this image of Basquiat in Hana, Hawaii while they were together

Shooting Basquiat | Paige Powell

In mid February 1984 I was holidaying in Hana, Hawaii with Jean-Michel and his family. Jean-Michel rented a private ranch on the eastern side of Maui for periods of time to escape the urban life in New York.

We flew in by helicopter from Kahului, Maui, dropping down near the Haleakala Crater, and landed on the ranch’s grassy field near the gracious old Hawaiian cottage-styled home – a guesthouse with lovely lanais. It was a dreamy, romantic and reclusive place with hammocks, balmy breezes, blue skies, and home cooked dinner every night: fresh ahi, and lots of coconuts, guavas, mangoes, pineapples and avocados, many grown right there on the ranch.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Paige Powell

Paige Powell, 2014, by Civilian New York

We rode horses from the stable on the hills above the Pacific Ocean, played tennis, read, listened to music and walked to the nearby ’Ohe’o Gulch (also known as the Seven Sacred Pools).

Jean-Michel was at his happiest and most relaxed at this laidback, beautiful tropical haven. He loved lighting the hurricane lanterns at night. Always smiling and laughing.

As usual, he drew, painted, made watercolours and, while they were still wet, ran them through the laundry dryer. C


Photograph of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Hana, Hawaii 1984) by Paige Powell. Courtesy of Paige Powell and The Suzanne Geiss Company

Exhibition A has an edition of 100 prints of Paige Powell’s photograph of Basquiat in Hawaii