Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
BornTatyana Lynn Fazlalizadeh
(1985-10-12) October 12, 1985 (age 33)[1]
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
EducationUniversity of the Arts
Known forIllustrator, painting, public art

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (born October 12, 1985) is an American artist, activist, and freelance illustrator.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Fazlalizadeh grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of Daryoush and Sandra Fazlalizadeh. Her mother was an artist and art teacher, but Tatyana did not begin creating her own art until she was in high school.[8] She moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of the Arts, graduating in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.[5][9] She is of black and Iranian descent.[2]


Style and work[edit]

Fazlalizadeh is primarily an oil painter.[10] Her work featuring President Barack Obama was included in the book Art For Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change, which was edited by artist Shepard Fairey.[11] She is most well known for her Stop Telling Women to Smile campaign.[12]

In addition to her work as an oil painter, Fazlalizadeh works as a street artist. Most of her public works are poster, like the ones found in the Stop Telling Women to Smile campaign. Much of Fazlalizadeh's public works are designed to be ephemeral because of the way they are applied to the surface with wheat paste, weather and time cause the posters to fall apart. Given that her works are in the public domain and often have confrontational subject matter, they are often vandalized.[13]

Stop Telling Women To Smile[edit]

In 2012 Fazlalizadeh gained notoriety when she began to use street art to speak out against the street harassment of women. Her poster campaign, Stop Telling Women To Smile, was based upon interviews conducted with women about their experiences of public sexual harassment. Each poster features a portrait of a woman, along with a caption responding to her experience.[12][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] Captions include statements such as "My outfit is not an invitation" and "No, you can't talk to me for a minute."[22] The campaign offers women an opportunity to fight back against their harassers.[23]

The original Stop Telling Me To Smile posters were displayed in Fazlalizadeh's neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City. Fazlalizadeh subsequently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Stop Telling Women To Smile posters to other cities across the United States.[14]

In 2015, Fazlalizadeh took the project to Mexico to broaden the audience. In April 2015 Fazlalizadeh created "International Wheat Pasting Day" as another continuation of the Stop Telling Women to Smile campaign. As a part of this event, participants, in groups of three, went out on April 17, 2015 with images received from Fazlalizadeh to past works all over the world in various languages. Participants were also able to upload their plans and accomplishments to the STWTS website. Through this project Fazlalizadeh aims to have her work and message reach a larger audience and to engage her supporters in her practice.[24]

Recent work[edit]

In response to the 2016 presidential election, Fazlalizadeh wanted to make a work in her home and historically Republican state of Oklahoma. The text on the piece includes, "America is black. It is Native. It wears hijab. It is Spanish speaking tongue. It is migrant. It is a woman. Has been here. And it's not going anywhere." In this piece the location of the piece in Oklahoma is just as important as the overall concept to Fazlalizadeh, according to her, because of its political history.[13] Fazlalizadeh's work appears in the Netflix TV series She's Gotta Have It.[25]


  1. ^ United States Public Records, 1970-2009.
  2. ^ a b R. Lee, Felicia (April 9, 2014). "An Artist Demands Civility on the Street With Grit and Buckets of Paste". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Philly 360°, Your Guide to Philly's Diverse Creative Scene, Nightlife, Music, Food & More". visitphilly.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  4. ^ Metro.us
  5. ^ a b Patricia Grannum. "WOMAN OF COLOUR: The Art of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh". womanofcolour.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Reveals Her New Obama Illustration". redefinemag.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  7. ^ "The Roots Mural Project - Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Exhibition - Mural Arts Program". muralarts.org. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Taking Space: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on Street Art". Fusion.net. March 31, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "Stop Telling Women to Smile: About". Tumblr. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Hey Stranger, Stop Telling Me To Smile". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Events Calendar - Leeway Foundation". Leeway Foundation. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  12. ^ a b Lee, Felicia R. (April 9, 2014). "An Artist Demands Civility on the Street With Grit and Buckets of Paste". Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  13. ^ a b Frank, Priscilla (2016-11-29). "Street Artist Delivers Powerful Message To White America". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  14. ^ a b Little, Anita (2013). "If these walls could talk". Ms. Magazine (Fall): 16.
  15. ^ "Fighting Unwanted Cat Calls, One Poster At A Time". NPR.org. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  16. ^ Julia Pugachevsky (4 March 2013). "Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's Provocative Anti-Street Harassment Posters". Flavorwire. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  17. ^ The New York Times
  18. ^ "Fresthetic Video: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Artist Talk". Arts Observer. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  19. ^ "NYU News: Artist plasters Brooklyn in anti-street harassment posters". nyunews.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Featured Artist: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh". Bluestockings Magazine. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  21. ^ "New York Street Art Project Aims To Put An End To Street Harassment". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  22. ^ Liss-Schultz, Nina (November 27, 2013). "Meet the woman who waged an artistic war against her street harassers". Mother Jones.
  23. ^ Alvarez, Ana Cecilia. "Hey stranger, stop telling me to smile". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  24. ^ Brooks, Katherine (2015-04-13). "This International Public Art Event Asks Us All To Confront Catcallers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  25. ^ Blake, Meredith. "'I am inherently politicized': DeWanda Wise on becoming Spike Lee's millennial Nola Darling – LA Times". latimes.com. Retrieved 2017-12-21.

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