Flowers For Legends: Jean-Michel Basquiat, 2022

What aspect of an infamous life speaks louder to you?

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Tatyana Watkins
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Flowers For Legends: Jean-Michel Basquiat

What aspect of an infamous life speaks louder to you?

I started this piece in early 2022, and ended the year with its New Year’s Eve Gala exhibition in Atlanta, GA where it received immense admiration. It took anywhere from 5 to 7 months to complete due to my meticulous paint style and admiration for the subject’s portrayal, Jean-Michel Basquiat.
This piece is an amalgamation/summary of Jean-Michel’s life: highlighting his outlets and coping mechanisms, his origin and birthplace, his demeanor on life throughout his journey (weary facial expression juxtaposed with the vibrant, lively colors of his life) and the legacy he built as an artist and human being.
The withering flowers, represent the art world’s distasteful tendency to under-appreciate an artists’ genius until they are deceased. The flowers are metaphorical and a token of gratitude for Basquiat’s contributions. They are further supported by the statement on the wall inspired by “SAMO©”, Basquiat’s controversial graffiti tag duo in the 1980s with Al Diaz. Mr. Diaz has also shared perspectives and advice associated with this piece and my growth as an artist, for which I am grateful.

* This creation has an inner frame

Tatyana Watkins


Art & Design

Graduation Year



United States


I create by any means necessary. Oil paint is my prized medium, in conjunction with acrylic paint for the foundation of my pieces, though I’m not limited to any particular medium. I challenge outdated societal norms and inspire change from within. I expound upon subtleties and represent for the unspoken and overlooked. My art is a reflection of my internal world and all of the influences thereof.


Measurements (Width X Height X Depth)

48 X 48 in

121.92 X 121.92 Cm


5 lb

2.27 Kg


Oil and acrylic paint on canvas

The process of creating this work was especially memorable because of the circumstances in my own personal life while creating it. At the age of 21 I experienced tremendous changes including a failed engagement, a horrifying car accident, experiencing homelessness, relocating to Los Angeles, and extreme solitude all in efforts to drive my art to its highest potential. It is a personal symbol of resilience and adaptability of which I learned to apply in all of my endeavors and aspirations.
The practical memorability is associated with the piece’s dimensions, as this was the first time I’d challenged myself to paint a piece this large. Without a car, transporting the piece from exhibits and studios was a hassle, which further deepened my desire for its completion.
The challenges, though grim, we’re all the more exciting considering that Jean-Michel experienced the peak of his career and hard work in his early 20s as well. My curators and friends liken me to him, in terms of experiences and core essences.
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