Saturday, February 5, 2011
Without a doubt, K-West, (pronounced "quest") is the most popular painter of all time. Elton John said recently "I ran into Kanye in Honolulu last January. He’s a stone-cold genius. He’s like Ernie Barnes meets Salvador Dali."
A graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, K-West followed in the footsteps of fellow AAA graduate Gil Elvgren and painted pin-up girls of African descent. The paintings were selling well but it was the portraits of rap stars that put him in the public eye. His TUPAC LAZARUS painting, as well as his self-portrait as a white man entitled WHITE ME, both sold for over $250,000 dollars, making him one of the most successful living painters of all time. His first brush with notoriety was during a fashion show in France. When a French reporter referred to him as "The Black Andy Warhol", Kanye shoved the reporter to the ground and said "Fuck Warhol." To follow up his distaste for Warhol's work, he created a piece called "Eight Biggies", featuring dead rapper Christoper Wallace, a silk screen printing that was merchandised on almost every product imaginable. It recently sold at auction for $25 million dollars. K-West has painted the walls of his mansion himself, with religious paintings that often depict him as Jesus or other popular Christian figures, including a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel on the roof of his living room, with God and Adam depicted as African Americans. His most recent controversy arose when he interrupted singer Taylor Swift at an awards show in order to promote his latest painting "Beyonce", a nude portrait of the famous singer.