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.