Who the flip is JMB?
I asked that same question until approximately 7pm on yesterday (April 5, 2021) when I watched this uber informative mini-doc on his tragically short life. It was something I found on a whim while watching a documentary on Francis Bacon, and it was only then that I finally paid attention to the major Zarry connection with JMB (which a few other Zarries had mentioned in the past.) I highly recommend you watch this doc below if you would like a crash-course on all things JMB.
Firstly, JMB is Jean-Michel Basquiat. That name sounds incredibly French (that’s because his father was Haitian) but he is actually quite American and hailed from Brooklyn, New York. I just find him to be beautiful in that a languid, listless sort of way. Kind of like Zayn. Deeply artistic and enigmatic. I’d like to peel them both like an onion (not like weirdly or sexually or anything…I didn’t mean…eye-)
Now, I must admit: I’m not too big on the art scene, especially contemporary works or Postmodernism. It’s my personal belief that a lot of celebrated art and artists are overrated and the entire concern can come off as a bit pretentious (just like literary fiction.)
With that being said, I also must admit (just being honest with ya’ll) I personally am not a huge fan of JMB’s style of art, which is Neo-expressionism I believe? (Tbh, some of his work just reminds me of the really phucked up and creepy sketches I would draw on my notepads whenever I was idle at school or work. And people calling that crap art would be total bullspit.)
But I do understand it’s the life and vision of the artist that informs the art for many people, and thus makes it meaningful. And his work holds powerful significance to a lot of significantly powerful people (with too much money lying around for their own damn good imo.)
This MF down here recently paid 110M dollars for a JMB piece (and I will concede that this is one of JMB’s better pieces—-but it’s still not even worth 100K imo, let alone A HUNNID AND TIN MILLIYONNNN DOLLHAIRS!!!)
I’m kidding, don’t come for me **laughs nervously**
I’m sure I’m missing the bigger picture here, and that all the deep esoteric messages within his work are totally escaping my ignorant self, and that’s ok. Not everyone is smart enough to understand abstract art.
For what it’s worth, I’m also not a fan of Andy Warhol’s work either (JMB’s old bff) but I guess at this point I’m just betraying the fact that I’m an uncultured swine and should stop incriminating myself lol.
Now, on to Zarry!
In December 2014, Harry posted a picture of JMB on his Instagram, and he seemed to fanboy over him out of nowhere. I wasn’t around back then so this is not something I knew about at the time.
(But hey, they did say “Harry Stiles” had reportedly purchased this piece, so we may just have the wrong guy here? lol)
Okay…let’s dig into this shiz:
Notice something in the lower left-hand corner of this picture that Harry theoretically purchased in 2014? Yup, a crown. Holy crap do I have a theory for you…
Ugh, the Dark!Zarry, crazed secret boyfriend, art coinsurer, after-hours museum tour, travelling across the world to procure and surprise him with rare pieces from his favorite artist-vibes will definitely be in the sequel of TTUM!
So “the crown” is a well-known motif in JMB’s work. Apparently he first introduced it in a piece known as the “Red Kings” back in 1981.
Since then it appeared sporadically in a ton of his other work.
It should be said that no one really knows exactly what “the crown” represents. I believe JMB may have spoke on it at one point, but I can’t find any concrete or universally accepted explanations that cover all of his paintings in which “the crown” appears. Just loads of intriguing speculation by art-obsessed folks.
Zayn’s crown looks to be most closely related to this untitled piece from 1982 however:
What’s worth noting about Zayn’s JMB tattoo is the placement, which was undoubtedly strategic. He seems to keep building onto this secret (and highly mysterious) eye tattoo that he started back in 2013. Remember, it started off as their matching Pink Floyd Prism.
Then in early 2014, Zayn added an eye (which looks eerily similar to Harry’s eye) thereby making the tattoo unique, so much so that he wanted to keep the design secret. He wouldn’t even allow the tattoo artist to take a picture of it like he normally does with all his other tattoos. And he conveniently got it on his inner-arm, so very few people ever even knew about this tattoo until after the band.
(Yes, he had Harry’s eye tattooed in 2014 long before Gigi’s came along in 2018, and he also got the Lotus and the Rose on his skull in 2018 shortly after the Gigi eye tattoo was revealed, probably to appease an upset Harry.)
He first showed his Harry eye tattoo prominently in the November 2015 video for his Fader Cover Story. By then, Zayn knew he was safe and no one would have reasonably drawn a connection back to Harry, even though the tattoo objectively looks very similar to Harry’s eye, whether you ship Zarry or not.
Then by late 2020 (somewhere between late 2018 and late 2020) Zayn added the JMB Crown to this convoluted design, knowing full-well there were rumors that this was Harry’s eye, and knowing full-well how much Harry openly loves JMB.
Here is Harold in 2020 reaffirming his love for JMB to the public, along with the color yellow (twice!) and daises for his Beauty Papers Magazine Cover Story. I kind of wonder if Zayn got his crown tattoo after Harry talking about JMB again in his cover story for Beauty Papers Mag?
It should also be noted that Zayn wore a sweater designed with a JMB painting in December 2020, and I suspect that wasn’t by accident. He wanted to make the JMB connection known to us, which is why he had his arms upraised in his “Better” music video. 🙃 I mentioned the eye tattoo in my analysis video, but completely skipped over the crown because I didn’t know what it was!
My “Better” Analysis (Lots of Zarry!)
Alright, whatever. Bye.