Before Kanye West was a world famous musician, he was an aspiring teen artist, according to a recent episode of Antique Roadshow.
The rapper’s high school artworks made an unlikely appearance on the daytime television show when a man who says he’s West’s cousin-in-law claims to have received the pieces after West’s mother died in 2007.
Five works were selected by appraiser Laura Woolley from a “great number” of others in the lot, which she estimated could be worth up to $23,000. The pieces, which are from 1995, include a pair of landscape drawings, two portraits, and what appears to be a graphite demon bound in chains.
“What really attracted me to these pieces was the fact that a lot of people are probably not aware of how talented he is as an artist outside his music career,” said Woolley, who works at appraisal service Collector’s Lab in LA. “These pieces demonstrate an extraordinary facility as an artist.”
She added: “To have early pieces like this from someone who really will be an important cultural figure of our time is really fantastic.”
Along with the pieces is a flyer advertising Yeezy’s first art show, held in 1995, where the then-17-year-old is described as interested in pursuing a career as a music producer. “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 as well,” it reads. “Hats off to Kanye West, graduate and artist extraordinaire.”