Writer reveals similarities between Kanye and Picasso

staff writer

As much as people hate to admit it, Kanye West is a genius when it comes to music and fashion. Ironically enough, the evolution of music styles that West has used almost exactly mirrors the style of art that Pablo Picasso used. Picasso went through many artistic changes regarding his work, and it’s eerily similar to the evolution of West.

Phase 1: Realism (Start of Career-1903)

At the beginning of Picasso’s career, he used the style of realism. Realism is the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, implausible, exotic and supernatural elements. An example of Picasso’s realism work would be a portrait painting like the “Portrait of Aunt Pepa” and “First Communion.” These two paintings clearly display people with tangible features. West started his career in a similar way, dropping the albums “The College Drop Out,” “Late Registration” and “Graduation.” All three of these albums are very tangible to the listeners and they can clearly understand what West is trying to convey to them. The images below show the realism artwork of Picasso and the album artwork for “The College Drop Out.”

aunt-pepa college-dropout

Phase 2: Blue Period (1903-1905)

The second phase of Picasso’s career is considered the Blue Period. This period in my opinion, was the era of Picasso’s painting that was very depressing. Most of his paintings have very sad and negative connotations to them. It almost seemed like Picasso had his heart broken. This style of art is displayed in multiple works such as, “La Vie,” “The Old Guitarist” and “Celestina.” This style creates a direct correlation to West’s “808s and Heartbreaks.” West was clearly “in his feelings” for the first and only time in his career when he made this album. The Blue Period style is clearly magnified in songs like “Heartless,” “Coldest Winter” and “Love Lockdown.” This is probably the first obvious comparison but the styles only get more similar as they go on. See pictures below for a comparison of the Blue Period artwork pieces.

kanye-west-808s-heartbreak-deluxe       la-vie

Phase 3: Rose Period (1905-1906)

Marked with romantic, delicately treated subjects in pale pink is Picasso’s third phase of art called the Rose Period. In this period it seems like Picasso has found new love within himself as his art takes on a much more positive and “lovey” vibe. Examples of this era are “Two Nudes,” “Boy Leading a Horse” and “Two Brothers.” This era in Picasso’s career featured a lot of nudity, and ironically so does the cover of West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” album. West’s evolution into his version of the Rose Period was marked by that Grammy-winning album. This album mirrored Picasso’s Rose Period in every way, from the track-list to the cover art. West seemed to catapult himself out of his lows from his previous album with positive and vibrant beats in lyrics in songs like “All of the Lights,” “Power” and “Hell of a Life.” It is also rumored that this is around the time that West met Kim Kardashian. Below is Picasso’s “Boy Leading a Horse” and the album artwork for West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

boy-leading-a-horse kanye-my-beautiful-dark-twisted-fantasy-itunes-cover1

Phase 4: Cubism (1907-1925)

The fourth phase of Picasso’s career is referred to as Cubism. Cubism is the art style that was created by Picasso himself. Cubism refers to a painting where perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned and use was made of simple geometric shapes and interlocking planes. This was a super extreme version of non-representational art where nobody could really understand what Picasso was trying to display. People could make out what he was trying to paint, but he used very weird and different methods to show it. Among his most famous paintings from this era were “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” “The Weeping Woman” and “Portrait of Pablo Picasso.” West’s version of Cubism was his album “Yeezus.” This is clearly one of the most cubistic albums in hip-hop history, marked with songs like “I Am a God,” “New Slaves” and personal favorite “Blood on the Leaves.” In this album, West combined auto-tune and almost electric type beats to create an album that is years before its time. See the pictures below  for a comparison of the Cubism era.

yeezus cubism

Phase 5: Surrealism (1926-end of career)

The fifth and final phase of Picasso’s career was identified as Surrealism. Surrealism is referred to as some sort of dream world, and Surrealism is defined by art aimed at expressing imaginative dreams and visions free from conscious rational control. Picasso represented this art style in famous paintings such as “The Face,” “Woman in an Armchair” and “The Dream.” In this era it seems that Picasso was almost in his own dream world at this point of his career, similar to West. I believe that West is currently in a dream world of his own, after releasing “The Life of Pablo.” All of the songs are very vibrant, upbeat and almost have a gospel feel to them. At this point in West’s career, I think that he believes whatever he creates, people will fall in love with, and he’s 100 percent right. “The Life of Pablo” was marked with songs such as “Famous,” the song where Taylor Swift gets called out, “Fade” and “Ultralight Beam.” Below is the artwork from Picasso’s Surrealism era titled “Woman in an Armchair” and the artwork for West’s album “The Life of Pabulo.”

picasso-the_dream-surrelism lifeofpaublo

So of course there will be people who think that West was way out of line when he called his album “The Life of Pablo” but in reality he has been living the life of art legend Pablo Picasso. Also, as much as people love to hate West, every single one of his seven studio albums has gone platinum. In addition to this, West designs his own Yeezy clothing line that has been featured in Paris and New York fashion weeks alongside notable brands such as Louis Vuitton, Balmain and Chanel.

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