Kanye West’s High School Artwork Was Just Bought By An Art Collector For a Pretty Penny
Kanye West has been called many things throughout his career, including “creative genius.” The Grammy-winning rapper‘s talents extend beyond music, with ventures such as his Yeezy clothing brand. But long before he was a musician, he was a different kind of artist.
North West isn’t the only artist in the Kardashian-West family
In early 2021, Kim Kardashian West made headlines when she shared artwork painted by her daughter North. The Bob Ross-style painting featured a gorgeous landscape of mountains, trees, and water.
While many didn’t believe that a 7-year-old could’ve actually painted that well, West and Kardashian West’s oldest child did in fact learn how to create that piece from her art teacher.
It turns out that painting and visual art genes run in the family. In high school, Kanye West painted and sketched several pieces of art as well.
Kanye West’s high school artwork was featured on ‘Antiques Roadshow’
West let go of his high school artwork years ago, but it hasn’t been lost to history. In fact, they were featured on an April 2020 episode of the PBS show Antiques Roadshow.
According to Page Six, entrepreneur and art collector Vinoda Basnayake was so impressed with West’s drawings and paintings that he made it his mission to track down the works of art for his own personal collection.
A source who was with Basnayake when he picked up West’s work told Page Six, “Kanye’s cousin owned the trove, which was created by Kanye during his days as a student at Polaris School [in Chicago].”
Kanye West’s artwork just sold for a high price
West created the pieces in the collection in 1995 when he was just 17 years old. They include artwork in a variety of different media, including graphite, gouache on board, and scratchboard. What many people don’t know is that West had an extensive background in fine art at the time, studying at some of Chicago — and the world’s — most distinguished schools.
“By age 17, he’s already been studying at these extraordinary artistic institutions,” Antiques Roadshow appraiser Laura Woolley said in the episode. She noted the rapper’s time spent studying at places such as the Hyde Park Art Academy, Art Institute of Chicago, Nanjing University in China, and the Polaris School for Individual Education. “I think these pieces demonstrate an extraordinary facility as an artist,” she added.
Because of a non-disclosure agreement, Basnayake can’t reveal how much he paid for all of West’s art. But when the portfolio was originally appraised on Antiques Roadshow it was valued to be between $16,000 and $23,000. Though it’s been less than a year since then, there’s no doubt that its value has gone up tremendously.