Swizz Beatz has been an avid art collector for more than a decade. Now the multi-platinum producer plans to open his own art gallery. “I want to create a gallery, a place that’s very well-known, for people to come and learn about new artists around the world,” Swizz Beatz says in an interview with Complex.com. “I want to make the gallery like a globe, and when you walk into it, it’s labeled by country. So if you want to find the hot new artist from India, we have that hot new artist from India, and you can connect with artists in Africa, Brazil and beyond.”
A painter, photographer and visual artist himself, Swizz Beatz says he is looking for a good location for his gallery and that he’s discussing his plans and ideas for the space with such artists as Tony Shafrazi, Jeffrey Deitch and Damien Hirst.
Even though he’s soliciting advice from others, Swizz Beatz has specific plans for the gallery, which he wants to a rich sensory experience and is not close to being completed. “It’s gonna take months to build out, because it has to feel global,” Swizz Beatz says to Complex. “It has to feel like you’re walking onto a set in each country. I want people to feel like they’re in India. I want people to feel like they’re in Africa. I don’t want it to be just white walls with some titles. I want it to be an experience, because art is an experience. It’s gotta be detailed like Cirque du Soleil. You know the detail that goes into Cirque du Soleil? That’s how the gallery has to be. The detail brings you in that world, where you walk outside and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m back! I just came from another world, and now I’m back to reality.’ I want to take people on a journey.”
Swizz Beatz emerged in the late 1990s through his production with DMX and the rest of the Ruff Ryders stable of artists. From there, he branched out to working with Jay-Z and T.I., among others. Beyond music, he has collaborated with Reebok and works on cars, among other projects.
But while Swizz Beatz says he simply views himself as creative, he says that others often limit themselves in terms of their own creativity. “I’m not blind to the fact that I’ve already been successful in music, which makes it hard for me to be successful in art, because people usually just do one thing,” Swizz Beatz says. “I’m like, ‘Nah, man. Art is everything.’ That’s why I’m into fashion. That’s why I build cars. That’s why I do so many things, because it’s all under the art umbrella. If we use the outlets that art gives us, then the world can become a more creative place for everybody who’s stuck in these boxes. And I don’t know how to be stuck in a box.”