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Fortnite collaboration pays homage to American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat's art immortalized in Fortnite (Image via Sportskeeda)
Jean-Michel Basquiat's art immortalized in Fortnite (Image via Sportskeeda)
Matthew Wilkins

Given how large and diverse the Fortnite community is, it's not strange to come across a collaboration in-game that pays tribute to an exceptional individual. Some examples of these include the March Through Time LTM, which paid homage to Martin Luther King Jr., or the cosmetics that brought El Chapulin Colorado to life.

Epic Games' commitment to populating the game with art, history, and music keeps the game updated with content from amazing individuals. The latest of whom to have their footprint digitally added to the game is none other than the late American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

@FortniteGame For those who have no idea who the hell is Jean-Michel Basquiat🎨🖼He was such a young and extremely talented Afro-American Artist who was born in my hometown in Brooklyn N.Y. on 1960Passed on Age of 28💐🪦🙏RIP 1988Nice to see em being acknowledged in #Fortnite "Tribute" https://t.co/myMqJ9cRJq

He rose to prominence during the 1980s Neo-expressionist movement and quickly became one of the most easily recognizable artists of his time. Sadly, he passed away at 27.

However, thanks to his contributions to the world of art, his creations have now been immortalized in the Metaverse.


The Jean-Michel Basquiat collection in Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 2

Given how difficult it must have been to legally procure and introduce his artwork into the game, Epic Games only managed to create two pieces of artwork inspired by the originals. They are:

  • Basquiat’s Tuxedo Back Bling - Based on Basquiat’s Tuxedo (1982)
  • Crowned Rex Back Bling - Based on Basquiat’s Pez Dispenser (1983)

Given that this collaboration is less about making a profit and more about spreading awareness and paying homage to his artwork, both cosmetics combined cost only 400 V-Bucks.

While it's unlikely to stay in the item shop for long, it will rotate back and forth over the next couple of days.

Put your style on exhibit with these two new Back Blings inspired by the legendary art of Jean-Michel Basquiat.Basquiat's Tuxedo and Crowned Rex are available on the Item Shop now. https://t.co/vimngooOhe

Since Epic Games' main job is to create, and given that Fortnite can be considered 'art', the homage paid to the artist is well placed. Unfortunately, some individuals within the community are not impressed with the collaboration.


Fans are displeased about the Jean-Michel Basquiat collaboration

Although the collaboration featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat was of vast importance, certain members within the community were not happy about it. According to them, this was a wasted opportunity which could have been utilized better by collaborating with other franchises.

Some fans are unhappy with the collaboration (Image via Twitter/benjolox)
Some fans are unhappy with the collaboration (Image via Twitter/benjolox)

The main gripe for most fans is the fact that this collaboration was given more importance than others. Skins for characters such as Peacemaker, The Batman, and Moon Knight are yet to be added to the game despite the leaks. However, this is far from the truth.

Given how complex collaborations can be, they can take months to execute. A good example of this would be Naruto. Even though the leaks occurred in May 2021, the collaboration didn't take place until November of the same year, which is a six-month gap.

@benjolox Pretty sure we have to wait for a few months for skin as idk how marvel handles collab with other companies for their tv shows that has characters that haven’t been in the mcu and no point for the Batman skin as it’s just a all black colored Batman skin with minor changes

For the sake of argument, one can state that Epic Games is delaying collaborations. However, any collaboration that gets delayed or canceled affects the developers financially as they make less profit.

More than likely, the Jean-Michel Basquiat collaboration occurred now because the developers are following a set timeline. Given these facts, it's unlikely that this collab is why other Fortnite crossovers featuring Peacemaker and Moon Knight got delayed.


Edited by Saman

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