I lived in a Soho tenement apartment on Sullivan Street from the summer of ’78 through late ’79. One day in late October near Prince and Greene streets I came upon an original Jean-Michel Basquiat SAMO graffiti that read, “Which of the following institutions has the most political power? (a) The CIA, (b) the Catholic church, (c) McDonalds or (d) SAMO?”
Later that year (or was it early ’79?) I ran into Basquiat in a post office as I was sending a couple of postcards to some friends. Basquiat noticed that I had written one of his SAMO slogans (“Do I have to spell it out? SAMO!”) and said to me, “Hey, man….that’s my stuff! That’s my thing. I do all the SAMO graffiti.” I was a little surprised that he pronounced it SAME-O when I’d been saying SAMMO to all my friends, but I was nonetheless stunned and awestruck. I told Basquiat how cool the SAMO thing is/was. I apologized for quoting him on the postcards without using his name but I didn’t know who Jean-Michel Basquiat was until he introduced himself.