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5 Visual Artists Kanye Needs For His Fantasy

Kanye West is on a roll. He recently debuted his short-film Runaway, as well as released the intended artwork for his upcoming release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. However, according to his tweets the original art may have been scrapped due to label concerns. But this is ‘Ye. He can’t release just one cover—he is planning on releasing five album covers to support Fantasy, all of which will be available when you buy the album. No details have been released as to who will produce the artwork, but just in case, we assembled a solid list of five artists we would like to see Kanye collaborate with on this project, and in the future. Peep the full list below:

Wangechi Mutu [website]
Kenyan-born Wangechi Mutu’s work is not for the lighthearted. At first, it’s a ethereal landscape of glamour and fantasy, but upon closer inspection of her her painted and collaged pieces which depict women in a variety of tones and compositions, they eye absorbs everything from the beautifully empowering to the borderline perverse. Known for attacking stereotype, gender, culture and history head on with her imagery, she may be a little too much for Kanye to handle. But if he is brave enough to stand up to her aesthetic, the end result could be major.

shown: Your Story, My Curse, 2006 (top) and Squiggly Wiggly Demon Hair, 2004, Paint, ink, collage, mixed media on Mylar (above)

Highraff [flickr]

In Sao Paulo, Rafael Highraff, also known simply as Highraff, is everywhere. He can call most street corners, alleys and galleries his home as his psychedelic, fluid work fits in well with Brasil’s cultural landscape and aesthetic—making him a favorite among Brasilian street artists. Imagine what he, Kanye and a bottle of Hennessey could produce. It may not be as dark, but it would definitely be a fantasy.

shown: Cipó Solar, 2010  & MUBE/Untitled, 2010

Iona Rozeal Brown [website]

Kung-Fu Joe. The Black Samurai. Bruce Leroy. The blend of Asian and African-American motifs in popular culture have been around way before Brown’s work ruptured the art scene, but no one has done it with as much finesse and beauty. Known for her blend of traditional Japanese geishas, samurais, courtesans and other subjects with African-American & hip-hop culture, it’s no surprise that Iona is also a DJ. It’s been said that Iona was initially inpired by Japanese ganguro culture, literally translated as “black face,” and realized the dominance of Black, hip-hop aesthetic. Since Kanye is always blending his own global influences and packaging them for us to digest as new (ballet, baroque & romanticism-era paintings, etc) the end product of a collaboration with Brown would be interesting to witness.

shown: Untitled (after Kikugawa Eizan’s “Furyu nana komachi” [The Modern Seven Komashi]), 2007 & divine selektah…big up [after yoshitoshi’s moon of the filial son], 2006 &  Sacrifice #2: it has to last (after Yoshitoshi’s “Drowsy: the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era”), 2007

Jeff Sonhouse [Jack Tilton Gallery]

Sonhouse’s work frequently touches on the idea of the “mask.” Kanye frequently touches on the many masks he wears while fighting with personal rights, wrongs and expectations. When looking at Jeff’s work, suited men, pimps, court jesters and politicians all come across, sparking layered conversations of race, identity, “posing,” self-perception and pop-culture. The partnership between West and Sonhouse could produce a frighteningly raw result, something that I’m not sure that Kanye is ready for, but would be beautiful nonetheless.

Kehinde Wiley [website]

An obvious choice. Kehinde’s portraiture of young black men in heroic poses with rococo, old master and renaissance influences have permeated not only the art world, but pop-culture as well. Kanye is vain. Vanity=self portrait. Imagine Kanye, depicted as the hero’s anti-hero, fighting against all that is mundane and ugly in life. On a horse! A natural collaboration if it hasn’t happened already.

shown:
Triple Portrait of Charles I, 2007, Oil and enamel on canvas & Sleep, 2008, Oil on canvas

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington

  • wow, great choices! i was already familiar with the works of kehinde and highraff but thanks for putting me onto the others. i will definitely be checking out more of wangechi and iona’s work.