Kanye West's H.S. art worth thousands on 'Antiques Roadshow'

Artwork that the rapper made in high school was appraised at more than $20,000 on the PBS show.
"The Truth Tour 2004"
Kanye West performs in Philadelphia in 2004.Frank Micelotta / Getty Images file

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By Wilson Wong

Kanye West can add “fine artist” to his long list of job titles.

On a recent episode of the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow,” five pieces of art that the multi-hyphenated artist made as a student at Polaris High School in Chicago in the mid-1990s was valued at $16,000 to $23,000.

In April 2019, West’s cousin-in-law brought in the rapper’s early portfolio for collectibles expert Laura Woolley to appraise at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

“My husband is Kanye West’s first cousin,” Damien Dziepak said while standing beside five excerpts from the collection. “When Kanye’s mother passed away in 2007, my husband received them as part of the estate about a year after she passed.”

The highlighted pieces featured a wide variety of mediums, including graphite to gouache paint and scratching techniques. A flyer for West’s first known art showing in 1995 was also included in the collection.

The flyer, Woolley noted, is particularly interesting because it paints a full picture of West’s entire fine arts training up until he was 17.

“He has a very impressive resume having attended the Hyde Park Art Academy from age 4, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago State university, Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China,” Woolley said.

Her favorite part is that at the end of the flyer, West, now 42, states his intention to pursue a career as a music producer “as well.”

West’s mother, Donda West, was why the rapper received comprehensive arts training at such a young age, the cousin-in-law explained to Woolley. “His mother pushed him to do anything he wanted to do and made sure that it was available for him.”

Given West’s fame, provocative nature and “extraordinary talent,” Woolley said she would expect the five pieces she appraised to continue to appreciate in value

Varying in size, the individual pieces were valued at $2,000 to $8,000 each.

“To have early pieces like this from someone who really will be an important cultural figure of our time I think is really fantastic,” she said.