Thanks to producer extraordinaire Swizz Beatz, the art world is no longer exclusive, invite-only community dedicated to the whos-who. Swizz, born Kasseem Dean, isn’t focusing on his own art, but helping others get the recognition they deserve.

Part of the Canon Rebel With A Cause campaign, the project is helping break down walls and open up opportunities for amazing undiscovered artists, sans politics—giving rising talents in the art world the chance to see their dreams come true in a unique way.


Plastered against the walls of both the Brooklyn Museum and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, artists showcased their work via projector to New Yorkers, giving a voice to NY artists.


Fresh off of his No Commission Art Fair at Art Basel, Swizz collaborated with Canon to create an art show featuring select works at Sotheby’s Auction House, where Swizz announced a silent auction early February.


The Source caught up with the Hip Hop staple to discuss the ‘The Unknowns,’ what he thought of this year Grammy Awards and what we can expect from him musically.

Everyone knows you for your musical talent, but you’re an avid art collector. What was the inspiration behind collecting art? 

In the beginning I can say I was collecting for the wrong reasons. I was young and a couple of guys took advantage of me. I was collecting for status. Now I find my own artwork, often though Instagram. I’ll D.M., send comments… I don’t let anyone else touch my Instagram. It’s a great pleasure to discover up-and-comers, artists that I can speak to, have dinner with at our home, artists that our children can meet.


What makes art important to you and the community? 

Art is for everyone. And that’s what made me start showcasing more affordable artists, new artists that galleries might never show. The Dean Collection is all about giving 100% of the proceeds to the artists. It’s really important we start celebrating each other more, so I strongly encourage everyone to check out #TheUnknowns.

You hosted a silent auction with ‘The Unknowns’ artwork. Describe the collection and why you chose them.

In the highly inaccessible art world, I’m dedicated to showcasing great, unknown artists, not only to catapult their careers, but also to share their incredible talent with the world. With the help of Canon, we’re exposing the art of #TheUnknowns for the world to see.

We launched an online auction with the work featured at Sotheby’s, with the proceeds benefitting the artists. The auction is now live at and will remain open until Sunday, March 6th at 6:30pm EST. My hope is that these unknown artists will get the attention they deserve.
 Canon's Rebel With A Cause Campaign With Swizz Beatz - Silent Auction
What’s the ‘Canon Rebel With a Cause’ campaign all about?
Rebel With A Cause is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Canon EOS Rebel SLR camera by following modern day rebels who challenge convention in their own unique way. This campaign invites people into their worlds with imagery that makes their causes shine and motivates others to join their movements.
It can be a struggle for any artist to break through the walls of esteemed institutions, so I’m honored that Canon has provided an opportunity for #TheUnknowns to break through those walls in a very unique way.
What can we expect from you music wise this year? 
Expect lots of good music and positive vibes!
What did you think of this year’s Grammy Awards? 
The Grammys this year was amazing, my favorite performance was from Kendrick Lamar. I feel like what he did was pure ART.
What’s one thing you know now you wish you would’ve known when you were younger?
The one thing I wish I knew when I was younger was patience is the key to success.

 Photo credit: Getty Images