A new mural is making quite a motherf*ckin' ruckus on Staten Island.
The 2,000 square-foot mural designed by local artist Cody Prez pays tribute to both Staten Island legends the Wu-Tang Clan and climate change. Prez's piece, "Climate Change Ain't Nothing To Mess With," is an obvious reference to the Wu-Tang classic "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F*ck Wit." The Staten Island artist said he was inspired after watching the news coverage of Hurricane Maria back in September.
"I had some Wu-Tang playing on the radio and I was just paying attention to the screen and it struck me like lighting," Prez told Gothamist.
The mural has received praise from members of the Clan as well. Mathematics, the creator of the iconic Wu-Tang logo, even gave the panorama his blessing.
"It's very humbling. The Clan played such a huge role in the culture of hip-hop and in the presence of artwork they provide to their listeners," said Prez.
Prez, who previously worked on a mural that highlighted the issue of prescription drug abuse on Staten Island titled "PILLZ KILLZ," teamed up Tariq Zaid, the owner of Richmond Hood Company, to make his creation come to life.
"Tariq and I are always talking and trying to educate things that are current. I like to talk about spirituality and life and not to take it for granted. And that's sort of how this big project was born," said Prez.
The mural was made possible by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Staten Island Arts. The piece is located at Staten Island's Artist Alley, a local hotspot for street art.
Save the date, this sat 6/30 for the public unveiling/celebration from 12-4 @richmondhoodco 827 castleton ave SINY... a public awareness install mixed with some education, and some staten island history from the illest clan in the land.. powered by @statenarts headlined by @redmangilla and supported by @mathematicswu of the @wutangclan .. this 2000 sq ft 2 story project has been a year in the making in grant applications, donations, planning and strategizing, to completion. There are 12 other artist who also blessed the walls of #artistally so be sure to come ill, chill, and get a fill of some fresh new works 💪🏽 SEE YOU THERE !!! #hurricanewu #prez #richmondhoodcompany #redman #mathematics #wutangclan #statenarts #deptofculturalaffairs #statenisland #shaolin #art
In addition to the highly Instagrammable wall, Prez and Zaid have organized community outreach activities around the mural. Their latest endeavor involved working with 8th graders from I.S. 61, a middle school on Staten Island.
"I always say, 'That's our future.' Us as adults, you can't teach a dog new tricks, but children can be molded into having an open mind and being more understanding," said Prez.
Prez hopes others see a positive message in his mural, rather than a purely political one.
"The message is this: Mother Nature is bigger than we are. As big as humans think they are on this planet, we're just specks of sand compared to what she is," said Prez. "I just hope people can open up their minds to being more aware of the beautiful things our planet offers us that we take for granted."
"Climate Change Ain't Nothing To Mess With" will be up until summer 2019 at 827 Castleton Ave in Staten Island.