What Happened To Kanye West's Childhood Drawings From Antiques Roadshow?

Kanye West has made his mark in the music world as a producer and rapper and in the fashion world as a designer, but in the spring of 2020, it was his childhood drawings that attracted quite a lot of attention and a large appraisal price. On a March 2020 episode of the PBS show "Antiques Roadshow" from the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, viewers got a unique look into West's high school art portfolio, per PBS.

Art dealer Laura Woolley appraised four pieces together — including drawings and paintings — at between $16,000 and $23,000, according to the Washingtonian. Damien Dziepak, whose husband Stephan Scoggins is West's first cousin, brought in the artwork. A Washington D.C. lawyer, Vinoda Basnayake, bought the four pieces — along with a related program announcing an art exhibit of West's work when he was a teen. Basnayake procured the pieces of West's art in 2021 after seeing the "Antiques Roadshow" episode and convincing the couple to part with the work.

High school art

Kanye West made the drawings and paintings featured on "Antiques Roadshow" when he was a high school sophomore attending Polaris Charter Academy, a Chicago school, per Hypebeast. In the program — which discusses that the then-17-year-old West had begun studying art when he was 4 — also mentions that he planned on becoming a music producer, via "Access Hollywood." At the time, around 1995, West was offering prints of his art for $12 each, a far cry from what Laura Woolley appraised the work for 25 years later.

The portfolio came to Stephen Scoggins and Damien Dziepak in the wake of a family tragedy, per the Washingtonian. In November 2007, West's mother, Donda West, tragically died at 58 following cosmetic surgery — a tummy tuck, liposuction, and breast augmentation, according to Newsweek. While recovering at home she experienced tightening in her chest and other symptoms before "collapsing." Scoggins received the portfolio following Donda's death. He and his husband initially rebuffed offers to sell the four pieces but eventually sold them for an undisclosed sum.

The buyer is a big fan of west

Vinoda Basnayake was watching "Antiques Roadshow" when the Kanye West segment came on, and the self-proclaimed fan of the rapper was immediately drawn to the work. "The minute I heard it was by Kanye — one of my favorite artists of all time — I knew I had to have it," he told the Washingtonian. Tracking down Stephen Scoggins and Damien Dziepak and then convincing them to part with the artwork took some doing. But his persistence paid off, and in early 2021 he flew to California and picked up his new cache of Kanye's old art. He said he may loan the work out to various museums "so other people can enjoy them." 

While appraising West's artwork, Woolley pointed out that "we see the value rise and fall along with the popularity of the celebrity" (via "Access Hollywood"). West is known for making controversial statements — from alleging enslaved Black people had "a choice" in 2018 to comments deemed anti-semitic in 2022 (resulting in several companies cutting ties with the rapper), per Britannica. It's worth noting that PBS removed the "Antiques Roadshow" clip about West's art from its website. Time will tell whether the value of West's high school artwork will suffer from his sometimes scandalous behavior.