This is the most important question that nearly everyone has forgotten to ask. 

People mostly only hear about Michael Stewart when two things are brought up: his death, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Very little is known about him; as of April 2017, his birthday is not even on his Wikipedia page. Michael Stewart's birthday is May 9, 1958, and has been confirmed by his family. 

michael stewart button .jpg

Above is an image of two things: one, an exact replica of the buttons passed out in 1983 after Michael's murder and two, an image of what he actually looked like before he died. 

Michael Jerome Stewart was the oldest of four children. Described by both friends and family as being "quiet" and permanently with a "thinking" expression on his face, Stewart was sensitive and creative. His sister describes a 25-year-old man who was interested in becoming a photographer (and according to family, already showed a keen talent), and who worked as a model and dancer. Indeed, Michael Stewart can be seen dancing in Madonna's 1983 music video, "Everybody." 

There is quite a lot that we don't know about Michael Stewart and his life. The hope of this project is that we can also offer a fuller picture of the man -- and the life -- at the center of one of the most pivotal events in the downtown New York scene in the 1980s.