5 things to know about the Urban Decay x Jean-Michel Basquiat collaboration

The brand teams up with the critically acclaimed artist's estate for a 9-piece collection

By Grace Wong | Published: 20 Mar 2017

UD X Basquiat
Photo: Urban Decay

Compared to lots of other brands, Urban Decay's collaborations are a rare treat. The only ones have been the massive Gwen Stefani collection and the tie-in with Disney's live action Alice in Wonderland films. So it's a huge, happy surprise that the brand is partnering with the estate of late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for their next collection, out in Malaysia this June. Here's what you need to know about it.

1. The collection
Tenant Eyeshadow Palette
Gallery Blush Palette
Gold Griot Eyeshdow Palette
Vice Lipstick in Epigram (neutral sienna)
Vice Lipstick in Exhibition (medium pink-purple)
Vice Lipstick in Abstract (nude-taupe)
24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Post Punk (bright neon green with a hint of pearl)
24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Vivid (bright teal matte)
24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Anatomy (sienna matte)

Clockwise from top left: Tenant Eyeshadow Palette, Vice Lipsticks, Gallery Blush Palette, 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils, Gold Griot Eyeshdow Palette (Photo: udwende/Instagram)

2. Who is Jean-Michel Basquiat?
The self taught American painter (22 December 1960 - 12 August 1988) is regarded by many as one of the most important 20th century artists, known for his graffiti-based, counter-cultural approach and style. Basquiat was a fixture in New York City by the age of 17, a graffiti artist selling hand-painted postcards and T-shirts. In his mashups of symbols, words, stick figures and animals, he combined the traditions of varied artistic disciplines, cultural origins, and his own Puerto Rican-Haitian heritage. Basquiat was recognised as part of the neo-expressionist art movement along Julian Schnabel and Susan Rothenberg, and has worked with Andy Warhol.

Years after his death, interest in Basquiat's work continues to flourish, and his estate has collaborated with Alice + Olivia, Zara, Reebok and Supreme, among others.

3. Why this collaboration?
"We like the idea of introducing Basquiat to a new audience and a new generation. This is a way for us to get out in a very public way and engage people with his art and hopefully get them to do a little research and learn something about Basquiat," said David Stark, president of Artestar, the creative consultancy that has managed Basquiat's licensing for nearly 20 years.

4. What's the deal with the crowns?
Crowns appear often in Basquiat's early work as a symbol of his ambitions. As artists of the past painted monarchs to represent their own grandeur, so did Basquiat, who painted the simple crown as a stand-in for a monarch, since there weren't any readily available in America.

5. Serendipity!
Urban Decay didn't know that Ruby Rose was a massive fan of Basquiat's when they signed her on as their face last year. She has a tattoo of his likeness on her arm and his signature crown on her chest.


@urbandecaycosmetics X Basquiat X RR

A post shared by Ruby Rose (@rubyrose) on

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