The Swatch Art Journey draws on the New York artist’s iconic paintings from the early 1980s.
May marks the release of the fifth capsule collection of the Swatch Art Journey 2023 and embodies Swatch’s love for trailblazing artists. The Swatch x JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT Collection is a vibrant tribute to the iconic New York artist who dared to break the boundaries of conventional art and help make street art sub-culture a critically embraced art form.
Three watches and a Special Set capture Basquiat’s signature style and are filled with powerful images and codes of all kinds. Each watch is a masterpiece in its own right and showcases Basquiat’s edgy compositions and fearless spirit.
For the campaign shoot of the collection, Swatch connected Basquiat’s art with today’s global skate and BMX culture. Swatch Proteam athletes, free-flowing pro skateboarder and world champion Andy Anderson and nine-time BMX world champion Matthias Dandois show the synergy between art and sport as they hit the streets wearing watches from the collection.
Swatch x JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
HOLLYWOOD AFRICANS by JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
This watch channels Basquiat’s original 1983 artwork that addresses the multiple stereotypes involving African Americans in the entertainment industry, as well as American society at large.
The dial of the vivid yellow watch features the painting’s trio of figures which depicts the artist with the rap musician Rammellzee and the painter Toxic, who had traveled with him from New York. And as in all of Basquiat’s artworks, text, images, and abstract signs are combined to generate a multiplied energy.
ISHTAR by JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
The 1983 artwork is named after Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of fertility and war, and the combination of writing and Roman numerals on the painting take center stage on the black dial.
The strap features different elements of the artwork, combining historical references to power with depictions of faces common to Basquiat’s work.
(UNTITLED) by JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
The artist used to “sign” his artworks in different ways. On this model’s dial is the artist’s famous three-pointed crown motif in bold black lines that stand out on the original 1982 artwork, perfectly framed by the black case, strap underside and loop.
The final finishing touch is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s signature on the bottom strap.
ABOUT JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of the best-known artists of his generation and is widely considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His career in art spanned the late 1970s through the 1980s until his death in 1988, at the age of 27.
Basquiat works are edgy and raw, and through a bold sense of color and composition, he maintains a fine balance between seemingly contradictory forces such as control and spontaneity, menace and wit, urban imagery and primitivism. The Basquiat brand embodies the values and aspirations of young, international urban culture. Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings. Before his career as a painter began, he produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street, and become known for the political–poetical graffiti under the name of SAMO.
The conjunction of various media is an integral element of Basquiat’s art. His paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more, and featured multi-panel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with writing, collage and imagery.
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