Artists Who Were Kanye Before Kanye Was Kanye

Carly Syms

VIP + Marketing Manager

Rembrandt van Rijn

“I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go…I’m like a machine. I’m a robot. You cannot offend a robot.” – Kanye West

Let’s start in the 1600s because it turns out, Kanye was basically alive and kicking then, too. Rembrandt was a pretty great painter. Really, we can – and should – all be able to agree on that. Turns out, Rembrandt thought he was pretty great, too.

One of Rembrandt’s painting was of himself and his wife Saskia that he titled The Prodigal Son in the Brothel. He enjoyed painting himself as the chosen one (he did it more than once) and his super-hot socialite wife as a whore. His look, directly out at the viewer, is a big eff you to the person who’s checking him out – namely, the people of his time who thought he was below marrying Saskia. Just wanted to “let you finish, but [I’m] the greatest [painter] of all time.” – Rembrandt

Pablo Picasso

“My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater… That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone who has done so much, and that’s a mentality that suppresses humanity…” –Kanye West

There are consequences when a parent praises their child too much. They might become narcissists, they might become successful (narcissists), or they might become Picasso, who took Mom telling him he did a good job on his finger painting to a whole new level. One of his more famous quotes is:

“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”

*slow clap*

It turns out this guy thought he was so good at painting that he deemed himself equal to the Pope’s level when it comes to being “on top of your game.”

Ever wanted to know where Kanye’s Life of Pablo inspo came from? Picasso is our guess.

Damien Hirst

“I will go down as the voice of this generation, of this decade, I will be the loudest voice.” –Kanye West

Kanye thinks he can be a performance artist/religious figure? That’s old news when we’re talkin’ about Damien Hirst.

Damien, you classic conceptual artist, you. One day you’re doing your own work, the next day it’s beneath you to paint a series of spots that you sign your name to. In fact, he just thought he was so good that anyone would buy his art. He actually said the words: “I can’t wait to get into the position to make really bad art and get away with it.”

Have we all heard Yeezus? Basically, it’s just Damian’s Spots series, but music.

Cindy Sherman

“Visiting my mind is like visiting the Hermès factory. Sh*t is real.” –Kanye West

Kanye is a little too into his image. Controlling it. Obsessing over it. Wearing all-white suits like he’s about to go pull gold-fillings from the mouths of dead bodies, and it’s been trickling over to his wife. He’s known for picking out her outfits, because he’s that controlling. Think he’s obsessed?

Then you haven’t met Cindy Sherman.

We get that she’s of the most prolific artists of the 21st century. Really, we do. But every single piece of work she’s put out is her wearing different clothes. We understand: she looks great in wigs. She has a bone structure that could win a war and an interesting, shape-shiftable face. But it’s that kinda like Kanye and his fashion choices that he truly thinks influence the world (or maybe they do and I need to hop on this Kanye bit).

But Cindy and Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, are also much more alike than you’d think. They have one particular thing in common: They’ve both perfected the art of the selfie.



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