Julian Schnabel is an American artist and filmmaker born in Brooklyn in 1951.
After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston in 1973, Schnabel applied to an independent study program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. His application included slides of his work sandwiched between two pieces of bread. He was accepted. Over the next few years Schnabel struggled in the art world, supporting himself as a dishwasher and short-order cook at a restaurant in Greenwich Village. Two years later, in 1975, Schnabel got his first show at Houston's Museum of Contemporary Art. It wasn't until 1979 however that Schnabel truly broke into the art scene. His first solo show, held at the Mary Boone Gallery firmly established his place in the art world. He currently lives in New York and has studios in both New York City and Long Island.
Sdchnabel's work became greatly influential in the 1980's as he became one of the leading figures in the neo-expressionist movement. HIs paintings were large, intense and often complex works, a reaction to the minimalism of the time. Perhaps the most striking part of Schnabel's style is his use of texture. His "plate-paintings" used pieces of broken plates to create unusual divisions and added great dimension to his huge, awe-inspiring works. His vibrant and energetic style confronts the viewer with raw emotion.
Schnabel's first film, Basquiat (1996), was a biopic on the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Schnabel wrote and directed the film, which starred both Andy Warhol and David Bowie. In 2000, Schnabel completed his second film Before Night Falls, based on Reinaldo Arenas' autobiography of the same name. Schnabel not only wrote (adapted, really) and directed the film but produced it as well. Schnabel also directed a third film, entitled Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). It's cast includes Johnny Depp and the film is set to be released in 2008.
Sources: A History of Modern Art