So he teamed up with Canon’s “Rebel with a Cause” campaign, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Canon EOS Rebel SLR camera and hosted “The Unknowns,” which showcases a series of art pieces from The Dean Collection. He kicked off his hosting duties by having a selection of the artwork projected on the walls of the Bronx and Brooklyn Museums on Monday night (Feb. 1) followed by a silent auction that was held at Sotheby’s Tuesday (Feb. 2).
“A lot of people in this world feel like they don’t have a voice, Swizz told The Boombox. “So if we can be a vessel for that word to be spread and visual being shown. I think we’re doing a great thing for the world because art is the world.”
He admits that he’s not one to “team up with brands because of a check.” However the opportunity to help up-and-coming artists get their work out to the masses as well as help community was something he couldn’t miss. Proceeds from the sales of the artwork will go to the artists as well as the Bronx Charter School of the Arts.
Swizz Beatz is an artiste in the studio and on the mic. However, his appreciation for art goes beyond music. He reminisced about looking up to pop artist Peter Max as a child..
“Peter Max is a good friend,” he says. “My name is Swizz, S-W-I-Z-Z, and Peter Max’s name means double Z. When I was super young, I used to go to Peter Max’s studio every day and just watch him paint. He’s the most organized artist I’ve seen to date. Peter Max did make a dent at one time. I own a piece of his Woodstock, six-foot.. I still can’t believe I got it. It’s still amazing. I’m a fan of Peter Max during the Woodstock era when he was doing those different paintings.”
He also added, “Art, to me, is life. I like to take photos of what inspires me. My kids, landscapes, maybe a doorknob. I don’t know. Same thing when I paint, you know. I paint for therapy.”
When asked about how he wanted to see classic hip-hop preserved as an art, he flipped the script and admitted that he doesn’t listen to hip-hop outside of his work as people assume.
“Because I started with Ruff Ryders that I’m just a f—ing hip-hop fan, he says. “And I am, but I’m not as big of a fan as [I am] global music. And I’m more global than hip-hop listener every day like I listen to hip-hop when I’m in my creative stage, listening to certain things like the Nas project or the Kanye project I finished working on. [If I’m not working,] I’d probably be listening to Fela!, to this, to that, to people who I can’t pronounce their names. I’m having fun that way. I’m having a very fun time exploring the unknowns.”