Kanye West's Twitter account has been a confusing place to navigate in 2018 (to say the least), and a bizarre new mystery has presented itself in recent months: Why does Kanye keep sharing cartoons of himself drawn into the Rick and Morty universe without any explanation?
After swearing off politics, Kanye has been filling his feed with fantasies of what his own life would look like if he were a character in his favorite TV show. He even sent one of the images over text to his wife, Kim Kardashian, with the caption, "May I take you to another galaxy." OK, wait a minute. Where is Kanye getting all of these? Is he commissioning someone to do them? Is he following a fan art account and re-sharing them all himself? What's going on here?
Back in December, Kim asked the creators of Rick and Morty to wish Kanye a happy birthday. Asked for a comment, the show's representatives told us, “It’s fan art and not sure where he is getting it.” After more digging, we came across an Instagram page that had uploaded “Pickle Ye” and many of the same cartoons that Kanye has shared: @nicole_nebula.
It turns out these drawings are the work of a 22-year-old artist named Nikki Nebula, who has a connection with Kanye's inner circle: Her sister is YesJulz. For the uninitiated, YesJulz is a social media influencer, former manager of G.O.O.D. Music artist 070 Shake, and entertainment entrepreneur who has been closely affiliated with Kanye in recent months while she organized his recent trip to Uganda.
Ever since Kanye saw Nebula's first drawing, the two have stayed in contact and she's drawn "at least a photo a day" for him. Nebula won't go into detail about the exact arrangement she has with Kanye, but she tells us, “Julz use to hit me every morning with ideas and asks for [an] ETA on [my] next drawing, but now I’ve pretty much got the hang of it and can conceptualize and execute and just hope they like it.” She says she's only been doing digital art for six months (most of her other work is paintings and drawings), but Kanye has become extremely taken with her drawings and keeps sharing her work at an increasing pace.
We reached out to Nikki Nebula for more information about the latest strange chapter in Kanye's Twitter account.
Your work has been getting a lot of attention lately because Kanye has been sharing your Rick and Morty drawings. What made you start doing those?
Julz is my sister and had started working with him. I noticed he was a fan of the show and thought it be cool to draw him into a scene and send it to her. She showed him the photo and he really liked it. I have made at least a photo a day ever since then.
Are you a fan of Rick and Morty, or did this all happen randomly?
I have watched the show since it first came out and was a very big fan myself. One of my first Rick and Morty drawings is of me and my boyfriend.
Since seeing the first one, Kanye has been sharing a lot of your work on a consistent basis. Have you been in direct contact with him? Did he ask you to keep making more after seeing the first one?
I’ll keep the process on a need to know basis. [Laughs.] He seems to like to keep things private, and I am just lucky to be here. It’s all surreal, really. I’m just honored he is even into my work, let alone sharing it. I was really only painting and sketching up until a few months ago, so it’s amazing to see the digital work get such a good response.
Julz used to hit me every morning with ideas and asks for [an] ETA on [my] next drawing, but now I’ve pretty much got the hang of it and can conceptualize and execute and just hope they like it.
What has it been like seeing your art get all of this attention?
I really didn't think my work would get that much attention. It feels really great to be recognized for my art and has proven to be a surreal experience. I am hoping soon that some of my other work will be just as popular. My first love is anime, and I prefer doing tangible work on paper.
How long have you been making art?
I honestly have been creating, drawing, and painting things ever since I was a kid,way back in elementary school. I even still have some of the art I did when I was younger and have plenty of sketchbooks lying around and paintings hung up in my room of the work I have done.
Do you have any other projects in the works that people should know about?
Right now I’m just exploring different mediums and enjoying collaboration with artists and creatives of all kinds of verticals. I want to learn as much as possible and then find my niche. I’m 22 and just getting started.