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What does it mean when a crown is upside down?

What is the symbolism of a crown that is upside down? It’s stitched into my trousers and jeans. It's embroidered on my shirts. I wear it as a ring on my right hand. And of course, it’s signed on the corner of every piece of artwork.


What is the story behind the upside down crown?

On early artworks the crown signature was upright with a small circle above it. This was inspired by the orb which appears on royal crowns. The orb is called a monde, French for world, and represented all the domains that a monarch ruled.


Initially, it was simply a reference to my name Ray Monde – with a crown and monde as a signature.


I realised the upright crown and monde was too close a reference to the crown which appears in a lot of Basquiat’s works.



Trumpet by Jean-Michel Basquiat

A paper crown to rule a paper world.

By flipping the crown upside down, it symbolises imminent change and, in a way, power on paper without any true authority.


When upside down, the pointy bits of the crown form the letter M for Monde. Then by layering on the idea that the crown is made of paper, a paper crown, it speaks to creating something from nothing, rather than inherited status.


And that’s the story behind the signature on all of my artworks – work by Ray Monde.

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