Regardless of how you feel about him, there's no denying Kanye West is a full-fledged Renaissance man. The 42-year-old has had his hand in everything from music and fashion to stage production and film, but very few people know that, as a child, Ye was a talented fine artist. Very talented.
During a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow, the multihyphenate's high school art portfolio was appraised by Laura Woolley, who specializes in pop culture memorabilia. The work was presented by a man who claims to be married to Kanye's first cousin. He told Woolley they acquired the art about a year after Kanye's mom, Donda West, died in 2007.
The appraiser noted that the exhibitor had brought a large selection of pieces, which were completed while Kanye attended Polaris High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois. But in the interest of time, Woolley selected a handful of works that highlighted 'Ye's range as an artist.
"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 then showcased a couple of graphite drawings, a gouache painting, and a scratchboard piece. The work came with a flyer that promoted Kanye's first known showing of art. The advertisement read in part:
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 if 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 ...
The flyer also listed prices for the works, ranging from $12 to $30.
Woolley said she expected the pieces to continue to appreciate, as she believes 'Ye's legacy will live on for quite some time.
"It's an interesting thing when you look at art that is done by a celebrity," she 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."
Woolley then broke down the estimated value for each piece; in total, the presented art could sell at auction for $16,000 to $23,000. Check out the appraisal above.