from Peace Magazine
Each canvas in the series measures 60 by 33 inches, but the statement each makes looms way larger. Arizona’s SB 1070 law, which many feel encourages police to racially profile Latinos, takes America a large step towards fascism. Ultimately, the decision to allow America to turn on the come-one-come-all philosophy that once made it the most progressive country in the world rests with we, the people. And it is the people whose minds Chuck D seeks to move with By The Time I Got To Arizona, his limited edition fine art collaboration with notorious Los Angeles creativity house SceneFour that was released to the public March 4th and has rapidly become their fastest-selling piece in a line of artwork that includes collaborations with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan and Bootsy Collins. “This statement of artwork is maybe reminding people that they gotta have more of a voice,” says Chuck. “We can’t rely on the people who are scrutinized – quote unquote ‘illegal immigrants’ – to speak up, because they’re terrified by some sort of terror law that has been enacted upon human beings. And the United States has bogarted their territory under the Manifest Destiny principle which basically doesn’t speak to human development as far as sharing the planet. Where do we go with that? Make a statement in art, and hope that they will stick.”
Few figures in music are better suited to tackle this topic than Chuck D. From the moment he stepped on the world stage in the ‘80s with Public Enemy he has crusaded relentlessly in the name of America’s oppressed. Arizona in particular has drawn Chuck’s ire in the past, from Public Enemy’s 1991 song “By The Time I Get To Arizona” which slams the state for not recognizing Martin Luther King Jr Day, to last year’s “Tear Down That Wall”, the musical counterpart to the art piece. Chuck stresses, however, that he doesn’t consider Arizonians bad people. “I think [all this] is a coincidence over the last 25 years. For years [Arizona] was a refuge for a lot of people to take their attitudes, build a space apart from each other, and just go down there in a different type of climate and kinda sit still without having to capitulate to other beliefs, just like a lot of places in the West. So I think a lot of those beliefs happened to travel with people wanting to get out of areas where they didn’t really feel like living with people as much. It was a latter-day coincidence that Arizona turns into the Alabama of now. Arizona is a beautiful state, people know it’s beautiful. I think the people who are actually taking these attitudes in the wrong places, they actually know it’s beautiful too and they want to keep it.”
Each canvas in this limited series of 300 is signed and numbered by Chuck, comes with an authenticity placard, and bears an aerosol stencil of the Public Enemy logo. Hidden within the piece are more than 30 various figures, lyrics, and messages for viewers to find, making it an artifact that reveals itself fully over time.
Where does racial profiling end when it’s the law? This is only one of the many questions Public Enemy founder and music visionary Chuck D poses with By The Time I Got To Arizona, an explosive fine art collaboration created under his specific direction that foreshadows the future of America if policies based on profiling continue. For his first foray into fine art, Chuck has worked hand-in-hand with artist Ravi Dosaj of creativity house SceneFour – whose recent art project with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan was named “The Greatest Painting Of 2010” by Village Voice – re-engineering a variety of traditional 20th century American imagery to create a frighteningly accurate portrait of a country eating itself. With a release set slated for March 4th, those interested in learning more before the public unveiling are encourage to sign up exclusively at www.theartofchuckd.com.
P.E. frontman Chuck D has made a career out of saying the kinds of things that, even, twenty years later, mainstream America still isn’t ready to hear. 1988’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back album revolutionized music, had the entire world shouting fight the power, heralded hip-hop’s ‘Golden Era’, and has made every critic’s best-albums-ever list since. It also set the tone for Chuck’s ascendancy to the self-appointed post of hip-hop’s elder statesman, during which he has answered to the titles of writer, producer, label owner, orator, radio host and narrator. He has testified before Congress, and was responsible for releasing one of the first albums in the mp3 format. He has collaborated with Janet Jackson, John Mellencamp, Rage Against The Machine, Sonic Youth and Henry Rollins among many others.
Though the piece won’t be shown publicly until March 4, 2011, the concept behind the work is described as “a future Arizona border created in a sophisticated collage utilizing a cache of recognizable figures (created over the last 100 years) to show how our “nation of immigrants” has been lost to legislation. Hidden within the piece are more than 30 various figures, lyrics, and messages for viewers to find. Arizona, which takes its name from Public Enemy’s classic 1991 song “By The Time I Get To Arizona”, picks up where Chuck’s recently released track “Tear Down That Wall” left off, keeping the spotlight on what he feels is one of America’s most important issues today, in a style guaranteed to raise some eyebrows. Each piece in this epic release comes with an authenticity placard, is numbered and signed by Chuck, and features his original handprints on the canvas in acrylic paint. Only 500 drafts will exist in the world.
from The Boom Box
Chuck D has always had a booming voice but now the Public Enemy frontman is hoping to resonate via the painted canvas.
In conjunction with the creative team SceneFour, the rapper-activist created an art piece that was inspired by Public Enemy’s song ‘By the Time I Get to Arizona’ and the immigration policies of the state.
Chuck’s painting is titled after the Public Enemy track, and according to a video that details the creation of the project, took about six months to create. Limited to only 300 pieces, each canvas measures about five feet by three feet and is numbered and signed by Chuck D. The imagery in the piece — described as a “visual mash-up” — draws attention to Arizona legislation that is often taken as hostile to immigrants and akin to racial profiling.
“You have people who think they have the audacity to own the land, mountains, rivers and keep people out of the place that’s supposed to be the pillar of democracy,” said Chuck D in a video. “It’s just hypocritical to the highest degree. So we have to make art to make a statement.
“It’s a lot of different media… A picture is worth a thousand words, but this is worth maybe five thousand words because each situation is worth a thousand words,” continued Chuck. “You live your life knowing that you can sleep at night and you don’t feel guilty about what you really felt you could have said but you didn’t say.”
Chuck D has finally released his 300-limited “By The Time I Got To Arizona” art piece, in collaboration with Los Angeles SceneFour. It was released to the public on March 4th, and has been selling rapidly. If you weren’t sure by now, this piece makes a loud statement about Arizona’s SB1070 law of anti-immigration. The piece shows Chuck D at the entry gates to Arizona, where he’s being racially profiled by the color of his skin — an official is holding up a pantone color chart, and instead of names identifying the colors, it reads either “Deport” or “Suspect”.
“This statement of artwork is maybe reminding people that they gotta have more of a voice,” says Chuck. “We can’t rely on the people who are scrutinized – quote unquote ‘illegal immigrants’ – to speak up, because they’re terrified by some sort of terror law that has been enacted upon human beings. And the United States has bogarted their territory under the Manifest Destiny principle which basically doesn’t speak to human development as far as sharing the planet. Where do we go with that? Make a statement in art, and hope that they will stick.”
“By The Time I Got To Arizona” is an art release unlike anything before it. Focused on ill-conceived immigration policies in Arizona that perpetuate racial profiling, the artwork is an unprecedented foray into the medium of fine art for Chuck D working in collaboration with art collective SceneFour.
Notable is the origin of many of the images featured within the creation. “By The Time I Got To Arizona” is a Visual Mash-Up. To execute much of the work, a variety of American masterpieces were sampled, reconfigured and intertwined with contemporary images from Guantanamo, Mexico, and Arizona in a stealth manner.
The result is a 60″ x 33″ creation of which 300 drafts all numbered and signed by Chuck D are available worldwide.
Twenty years ago, Chuck D penned the prescient “By the Time I Get to Arizona,” a searing tangent aimed at the state legislators who refused to vote for a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
With the passage of April’s anti-immigration laws, the state once again became a center of attention for racial tensions and political debate. In response, the always-outspoken Public Enemy frontman has collaborated on an art piece with Ravi Dosaj, the man who just last year successfully recast the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA as George Washington.
The result of their union, a limited-edition series restricted to just 300 canvasses, finds D standing in front of a blood-red backdrop, packing with different types of people standing glumly behind bars. According to the artists themselves, the concept details “a future Arizona border created in a sophisticated collage utilizing a cache of recognizable figures (created over the last 100 years) to show how our ‘nation of immigrants’ has been lost to legislation.”
To promote the art piece and (as always) to impart knowledge, Chuck D spoke to Pop & Hiss about his latest venture.
What made you decide to get involved with doing an art piece based on “By the Time I Get to Arizona?”
It was a mutual decision. I was familiar with [Dosaj] from his RZA portrait and his work with Bootsy Collins. Plus I come from a visual art background. I graduated with an art degree from Adelphi in 1984, and I’ve been influential in various art departments since the 1980s and 1990s. I’ve always believed that art and culture are intertwined with the human race and wholly diametrically opposed from government, who categorize you based on how old you are and how you look.
The legendary Chuck D was recently honored with a special mural in Chicago…
Chuck D was recently honored with a mural by the Momentum Art Team located on Chicago’s West Side.
Created in just two days, the goal for the artwork was to portray Chuck’s penchant of teaching on and off the mic for a larger audience. Working with the Scenefour—a Los Angeles based art collective that’s collaborated with the likes of RZA, Hieroglyphics, and more—Chuck is using the mural project to put focus on the controversial immigration policies in Arizona.
Public Enemy frontman, Chuck D, unveiled his fine art piece, “By The Time I Got To Arizona”, earlier this month.
The piece, which is aimed at Arizona’s SB 1070 law and Chuck feels encourages police to racially profile Latinos, was released in very limited quantities. While each canvas in the series measures 60 by 33 inches, the statement each makes looms way larger. Arizona’s SB 1070 law “takes America a large step towards fascism,” says a rep for the rapper.
“Ultimately, the decision to allow America to turn on the come-one-come-all philosophy, that once made it the most progressive country in the world, rests with we, the people,” a press release about Chuck’s piece reads. “And it is the people whose minds Chuck D seeks to move with ‘By The Time I Got To Arizona’.”
The limited edition, fine art collaboration with notorious Los Angeles creativity house SceneFour, was released to the public on March 4th and has rapidly become their fastest-selling piece in a line of artwork that includes collaborations with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan and Bootsy Collins.