RZA is a man who wears many hats. In addition to making a name for himself as the Abbott of the Wu-Tang Clan, the perpetual multi-tasker has added actor, director, and author to lengthy resume. Now, you can add painter to the list.
On January 1, RZA unveiled his first-ever painting “Victory or Death,” which is described as a “highly limited fine art piece conceptualized and starring the RZA.” A remix of sorts, the piece is based off of Emanuel Leutze’s famous 1851 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. Instead of America’s first president at the head of the boat, it’s RZA, trailed by GZA and the late ODB carrying the iron flag.
The piece is part of a series from When Art Imitates Life (WAIL), which was co-founded by longtime radio hosts Sway & King Tech and releases fine art projects from various musicians.
“Victory or Death” comes in two limited-edition runs. The first is the Legacy Series, which comes on a 40×30 canvas and sells for $500 with only 300 prints made. The second is the Monument Series, which is larger on an 80×60 canvas and retails $1,000 with only 60 prints made.
All prints are signed and numbered by the RZA and feature his actual handprints in the shape of a W. As an added bonus, the painting features several hidden elements, like Wu-Tang symbols in the waves. Fans can purchase a copy of “Victory or Death” online at whenartimitateslife.com.
“I know there’s a lot of people that understand that this piece is going to be worth a lot of money,” Tech said in a statement. “If you were to do this 35, 40 years ago with Jimi Hendrix, and you would have got a painting from him with his hand prints and his autograph on it, for $500, what would it be worth today? It would probably be worth $25,000, $30,000. And to me, RZA and the characters we’re trying to assemble are the Jimi Hendrix of our generation. They’re like the rebels, they’re the guys who changed music and changed history.” —Anslem Samuel