Swatch, known for its love of trailblazing artists, is releasing the fifth capsule collection of the Swatch Art Journey 2023. This collection pays vibrant tribute to the iconic New York artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who challenged the boundaries of conventional art and played a significant role in elevating street art to a critically embraced art form.
The Swatch x JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT Collection features three watches and a Special Set that capture Basquiat’s distinctive style, filled with powerful images and codes of various kinds. Each watch is a masterpiece on its own, showcasing Basquiat’s edgy compositions and fearless spirit.
To promote the collection, Swatch has connected Basquiat’s art with today’s global skate and BMX culture. Swatch Proteam athletes, including free-flowing pro skateboarder and world champion Andy Anderson, along with nine-time BMX world champion Matthias Dandois, take to the streets wearing watches from the collection, highlighting the synergy between art and sport.
One of the watches in the collection, “Hollywood Africans by Jean-Michel Basquiat,” channels Basquiat’s original 1983 artwork that addresses the stereotypes surrounding African Americans in the entertainment industry and American society as a whole. The dial of this vivid yellow watch features the painting’s trio of figures, depicting Basquiat with the rap musician Rammellzee and the painter Toxic. True to Basquiat’s style, the dial combines text, images, and abstract signs, generating a powerful and energetic design.
Another watch, named “Ishtar by Jean-Michel Basquiat,” draws inspiration from Basquiat’s 1983 artwork named after Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of fertility and war. The black dial prominently showcases a combination of writing and Roman numerals, while the strap incorporates various elements from the artwork, including historical references to power and depictions of faces commonly seen in Basquiat’s work.
The third watch in the collection, “(Untitled) by Jean-Michel Basquiat,” pays homage to Basquiat’s unique way of “signing” his artworks. The dial of this watch features the artist’s famous three-pointed crown motif in bold black lines, which stands out against the original 1982 artwork. The black case, strap underside, and loop perfectly frame the dial, creating a striking and cohesive design.
With the Swatch x JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT Collection, Swatch celebrates the groundbreaking spirit of Basquiat and his contributions to the art world. The collection not only showcases Basquiat’s iconic style but also demonstrates the enduring connection between art and contemporary culture.
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Hollywood Africans by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Ishtar by Jean-Michel Basquiat
(Untitled) by Jean-Michel Basquiat