For all his blusterous bad-behavior and ballistic bile, Kanye West possess a certain sense of style, refinement and knowledgeable taste in regards to fashion and the arts. Kanye is a man/child blessed with talent; the ability to compose intricate Raps as he dresses well and completes drawings that are much better than good. West is also able to solicit the great artists of his time and collaborates frequently with those peers. Talents to note and include are Takashi Murakami, George Condo and Rapper/Mogul Jay-Z.
West is a champion of the art of media manipulation as is evident in the attention given his recent wedding; while orchestrating and including the Vogue Magazine cover featuring himself and his then bride to be Kim Kardashian. Another important recent artistic feat for West was the February Interview Magazine cover story and immensely innovative and provocative photo spread (many of the photos included here) highlighting the radical artist. He continues to release new music and videos while developing a fashion line conforming to his unique sensibilities and ideals. This month’s issue for the fashion conscience male; GQ displays West at his best and highlights his monochromatic flair for originality and compositional matches and pairings. An arresting interview explaining his inner dinosaur and blowfish are found inside it pages too.
One of Kanye’s best and most interesting art pieces is his “Heartless” video. West produced and essentially directed this tribute to the inspired animation of Ralph Bakshi. The classic Bakshi film release “American Pop” is the background and driving force of the West video. Scenes are recreated directly from Bakshi’s superb animated Historical Fiction. It tells the story through several generations of an immigrant family’s journey and escape from Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution to the United States. They eventually achieve both political and musical freedom as they find their place in life and the world. I’m certain West sees a comparison to his personal life and struggles in the narrative. Within the video West includes a nod to Warhol and the American classic Hanna-Barbara studios.
In the course of his career West is often infuriating and polarizing but he is never short of surprise, invention and “the shock of the new.” Kanye West remains among the seminal artists and fashion mavericks of this; his times.