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.

The upside down crown as a signature on artwork by Ray Monde

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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