Astonishing Price!

Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Untitled" painting of a skull (shown here) sold last week at a Sotheby's auction for $110.5 million. Only 10 other works sold at auction ever reached the $100 million mark. The buyer of the painting below is a founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation in Japan and plans to share the art there. 

I was lucky to see a few of Baquiat's paintings for the first time at Art Basel Miami in December 2015, just 1-1/2 years ago. The asking price for his largest painting there was $7.5 million. Shortly after, I completed an illustration of Basquiat that includes his favorite way of expressing success. He simply said "Boom!" 

With this recent sale, Baquiat's work has now surpassed the highest price ever paid for a Warhol. Now that's astonishing!

Untitled, 1982, Basquiat

Untitled, 1982, Basquiat

Basquiat, 2016, Digital Illustration, Marilyn Witkowski

Basquiat, 2016, Digital Illustration, Marilyn Witkowski

T-shirt Design

Last week, I worked on a t-shirt design for my community's chapter of The Pap Corps (a local fundraising organization that supports new cancer research studies at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine). The six different colors in the bars are the same colors used in The Pap Corps logo, which represent the different types of cancer. The mission of The Pap Corps is to cure all types of cancer. Our Chapter's Walkathon is scheduled for March 12, 2016. This approved design was among my first set of ideas. 

Julian Opie

I love the simplicity of Julian Opie's portraits. I also admire that Opie has managed to move between the fields of contemporary art and commercial design. Just finished fooling around with a portrait of my cousin Wayne Federman, clearly inspired by Julian Opie. Wayne is a stand-up comic, actor, and writer (and all around great guy). 

Wayne Federman

A More Recent 27 Club

Amy Winehouse

Jean-Michel Basquiat


Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison were all musicians who died at the age of 27, often as a result of drug and alcohol abuse and later became known as belonging to the "27 Club."  I'm still a fan of Janis Joplin and was lucky to see her perform in Maryland at the height of her career. I often think about artists like Janis, who gave so much of their soul to their art that it destroyed them.

Amy Winehouse was such an artist. An amazing singer, she had to write her own songs to fully express what she felt. My recent digital illustration of Amy shows how she wore her loves on her heart and on her body (literally). Cynthia was her paternal grandmother and Blake was her husband. Amy died at age 27 of alcohol abuse. 

In December 2015, I went to Art Miami and for the first time saw Jean-Michel Basquiat's paintings in person. WOW! His paintings aren't like any others. He pushed the art of painting to show us how a painting could be, and in each one, shared all sorts of ideas and his life experiences. Most artists work from some source material. But when Jean-Michel worked, he listened to music, referred to many books and magazines, and even kept conversations going with friends in his studio. In my recent digital illustration, I show a painting that Jean-Michel might have done to convey his struggles (as an African American artist) to be accepted in the art world. Even getting a taxi in NYC was not easy for him. When his works started to gain popularity, they sold for $5,000 each, and soon after, for $25,000 each. Basquiat died at age 27, almost 28 years ago, of a heroin overdose. He left behind 1,000 paintings and 1,000 drawings. At Art Miami, the asking price for a large painting: $7.5 Million.  



With the new year coming, I find myself setting new goals. One is to share my daily struggles.

No one, or at least no one I know, just walks in a room and creates a masterpiece or even a decent piece of work of any kind, without some struggle and doubt.

Can I do this? Is it a worthwhile endeavor? Does it really serve a purpose beyond nourishing my own spirit? 

I believe we all have many things that we're passionate about. For me, it's art and communications.  There's nothing more satisfying than creating a piece of art or copy that clearly conveys my intended meaning. 




My silkscreen studio. When I'm pulling silkscreen prints, I find it extremely gratifying. 

My silkscreen studio. When I'm pulling silkscreen prints, I find it extremely gratifying.