Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is inspired by the world she sees & experiences around her, so it’s no wonder that her art is charged with female, black, musical and diasporic energy. And you might have even seen it, even if you don’t know her name.
She’s the artist behind the Stop Telling Women to Smile campaign that started with her wheat paste posters on the streets of New York, combining hand-drawn sketches of diverse women, with their often non-verbalized responses to street harassment. It's estimated that over 80% of women worldwide have experienced street harassment, and her art so resonated with them that its further development was crowdfunded through Kickstarter. Her work is now in cities nationwide, plus Paris & Mexico City, with many more being requested daily.
As a black & Iranian woman, Tatyana’s art reflects her identity, and is first and foremost art, not a political statement. So when she created her “America Is…” mural in her home state of Oklahoma, a state that’s 72% white, 9% Native American, 8% Hispanic, and 7% black, it was an affirmation that even though we aren’t always exposed to others like us, we’re ALL what makes and has made America what it is.
Tatyana’s also been commissioned by BET to paint portraits for their Black Girls Rock! Inc. music series and her work has appeared on book covers & movies posters. She’s created murals at Coney Island and for the musical group The Roots, and is skilled in oil painting, illustration and photography as well.
When asked about why she does what she does, Tatyana says “I'm telling the stories of the people who I know, who look like me, whose lives I think need to be told, [those] who aren't really represented in these traditional oil paintings, who aren't represented in art, in mainstream media. So how do I tell those stories? How do I make it clear that these people and these stories are important?”
For her, one way is by literally taking it to the streets.