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Designer Riccardo Tisci shares the concept behind Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Watch The Throne artwork

September 21st, 2011 | by Aamir Yaqub


Riccardo Tisci is probably not a household name at all, but he was put somewhat closer to that status with the recent work he has done for Jay-Z and Kanye West. The Italian designer is the head creative at fashion house Givenchy and has worked with Kanye on fashion ventures before, however he was recently asked to step outside of his fashion world and create the artwork for the whirlwind project that was Watch The Throne.

“The funny thing is, growing up, I’ve always loved JAY and Missy Elliott. But for me, this type of music always represented things like women, sex, diamonds, fur, cars and luxury,” Tisci tells Jay-Z’s lifestyle website Life + Times in a recent interview.

“But when it came to the artwork, it was really important to me to represent the pure genius inside of them, and in some ways, go back to the roots – the real rap, which has been more experimental in the last few years.

“I also wanted to showcase how proud they are to be Americans. I really wanted to make them happy with the outcome. I decided on the color gold, which to me, represents luxury. It has always been about rap, including ‘the good life.’ I really wanted to represent that in a color.

“And then, I wanted to represent America. And since they are both very handsome men, I wanted to touch on elements of sexuality and their strong personalities, showing off an animal dialogue, because I am obsessed with animals. And then, incorporate religion. And it didn’t have to be Catholic. It’s more about a point in life. For me, religion can be abstract. There are also elements of freedom as well.”

Read the full interview here.