Alas, Laura Woolley, a Sotheby’s collectibles alum, chose to highlight only five of them on the show: two graphite drawings, two scratchboard works, and a painting in what she guessed was gouache. “I think these pieces demonstrate an extraordinary facility as an artist,” Woolley said, describing them as “really exceptionally well done. ” All are circa 1995, when West was 17.
According to an artist bio, also circa ’95, West also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago State University, Polaris School for Individual Education, and Nanjing University. (He enrolled in the latter while living in China, where his mother was teaching at an exchange program.
There’s no shortage of celebrities who’ve attempted to moonlight as fine artists, to very much varying degrees of success. (Among them: Jim Carrey, Anthony Hopkins, Val Kilmer, Lucy Liu, and even Paris Hilton. ) Despite Woolley’s expert opinion, it’s only natural to proceed with some skepticism.
But it wasn’t until PBS aired the latest episode of Antiques Roadshow on Tuesday that many of his devotees learned a new bit of Kanye trivia: Once upon a time, back in his teens, West was an accomplished fine artist.
And it’s a hint that West created more conceptual work, too; chains criss-cross in the foreground, mirroring the chains shackled to the person’s neck.
But the possibility does seem to exist that decades before his wife, Kim Kardashian, West was also critiquing mass incarceration and calling for criminal justice reform. (With on important distinction: without the help of Trump.
A close read of 17-year-old Kanye West’s impressive art. https://t.co/hnkWy0Iaqm— W Magazine (@wmag) April 2, 2020