Many know of Kanye West as a rapper and fashion designer but he’s been working on his art since he was four years old.
The Through The Wire rapper was enrolled at Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Academy as a child. Later in life, West dropped out of American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he was studying to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts.
On a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow, West’s art portfolio from when he was a student at Polaris High School was featured and Laura Woolley, a pop culture memorabilia collector, appraised the collection.
The exhibitor received West’s high school portfolio from a man who claims to be married to West’s first cousin.
He told Woolley that they acquired the collection of art one year after the Jesus Walks rapper’s mother Donda West passed away in 2007.
“I think what really attracted me to these pieces is that a lot of people are probably not aware of how talented he is as an artist outside of his music career,” Woolley said.
“I think these pieces demonstrate an extraordinary facility as an artist, and I selected this grouping because it shows the different mediums he was working in,” she said of the pieces she selected.
Woolley selected pieces West created in 1995 when he was just 17 years old.
“By age 17, he’s already been studying at these extraordinary artistic institutions,” Woolley said.
The work came with a flyer that promoted the 42-year-old rapper’s first known showing of his art collection.
The flyer read: “Kanye Omari West, a 17-year-old Atlanta-born artist, began his study of art at age 4 at the Hyde Park Art Academy. Since that time he has studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago State University, Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China and Polaris School for Individual Education. This fall, Kanye will begin his studies for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and continue to pursue a career as a music producer.”
It also listed prices for the work ranging from $12 to $30 but Woolley said his collection could sell from $16,000 to $23,000 now.
“It’s an interesting thing when you look at art that is done by a celebrity,” Woolley said. “Because a good portion of the value of that artwork can actually depend upon something I call ‘the enduring legacy’ of the celebrity. So we see the values rise and fall with the popularity of the celebrity. … To have early pieces like this from someone who really will be an important cultural figure of our time, I think is really fantastic.”Follow @KatieScottNews
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