The Brooklyn Public Library recently introduced “The Book of Hov,” an installation created by Roc Nation to honor the life and accomplishments of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, a prominent figure in Brooklyn and a major influencer in the global hip-hop, music, and cultural scenes.
The installation showcases exclusive images, artwork, and memorabilia from Jay-Z’s personal archives, providing a unique glimpse into his remarkable life and career. This immersive experience, available for free, stands out as one of the few installations of its scale located in an active public space.
The project features a striking mural by Jazz Grant, a talented British artist known for her work in non-digital collage and stop animation.
Drawing inspiration from Jay-Z’s cinematic visuals, each collaged composition takes inspiration from elements of his music videos. She skillfully employs symbolism to connect various elements in the artwork, such as using nature to represent growth and the passage of time, crowd shots to symbolize his influence on society and fans, and the backdrop of Marcy to acknowledge Jay-Z’s roots.
We had an email exchange with Grant, who shared her process for creating the work, and how her background in menswear design has influenced her.
Snobette: How did you get connected to Jay-Z and Roc Nation for “The Book of Hov” mural?
Jazz Grant: “We had been approached by [brand design agency] General Idea and Roc Nation on the mural idea. We discussed the collage process, the imagery we would have access to, and the application for installation, and went from there.”
Snobette: Were you given any guidelines to create the murals or did you have creative freedom?
Jazz Grant: “The piece was essentially to celebrate and express Jay-Z through his many significant eras, to try and reflect on his cultural importance and influence. With Jay-Z at the centre, I was encouraged to respond as I would any of my personal artworks. So there was lots of creative freedom came with how I interpreted this concept. The feedback subsequently was to make sure there were no dominant eras, that we covered everything and all the different years were expressed.”
Snobette: Does your menswear design background influence your aesthetic? and do you see yourself creating apparel in the near future?
Jazz Grant: “Definitely! I love fashion and textiles and they are a constant source of inspiration. The first collages I ever made were meant to investigate design ideas, the two will always be intrinsically linked for me. Currently, I’m working with more mixed media processes and experimenting with fabric, stitching, appliqué and other textile techniques within the artworks. Bringing the collage process into a 3D world of sculpture or a garment is also something I’ve been musing on. Right now, though, I’m focussing on large scale mixed media artworks and an animation towards a solo show next year.”