Director Of Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” Video Speaks On Working With Jay: “He’s An Icon Of Our Era”

With the short film/music video for Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” premiering tonight on HBO, the video’s director, Mark Romanek, has been on a bit of a press run to help promote his collab with Jay. In an interview with Indiewire, Romanek—who also shot the trailers that led to the release of Jay’s recent Magna Carta … Holy Grail—touched on how the idea came together, saying, “He said would you like to make a music video for “Picasso Baby?” My reaction was, I definitely want to work with Jay-Z. It’s very exciting.”

He continued, clarifying his goals with the performance art-inspired video, which the duo shot in a gallery in Chelsea, New York. “Something about making a quote unquote music video in a traditional sense, didn’t seem very interesting to me. The song name-checks a lot of fine artists and I thought, what could we do with that fine art world that isn’t a traditional musical video but is part of the zeitgeist—something unpredictable and [that] utilizes social media? I didn’t want it to be a hermetically sealed experience,” says Romanek.

The famed director also went on to discuss Jay’s evolution from street dude to savvy entrepreneur, explaining, “I’ve known him over the years and wanted to bring out a side of him that people don’t normally see. He’s not a street rapper anymore. He’s a wealthy businessman and a father. In this video I think he’s very relatable.” The result of their collaboration is a 10-minute short, set to premiere on HBO tonight at 11 p.m. Check out the trailer for it above.

For the rest of the interview, head to Indiewire.