On Sunday, May 10, honorary doctorate recipient and Grammy Award–winning recording artist, songwriter, producer, designer, film director, entrepreneur, and painter Kanye West (HON 2015) engaged with SAIC students, faculty, and staff during an artist talk in the MacLean Ballroom.
West created a dialogue by opening the floor to questions, and students inquired with thoughtful, interesting, and sometimes challenging questions about the artist’s research, process, and advice for making it out of a violence-plagued neighborhood.
“As artists, our responsibility is to the truth,” said West. “Because how else can history be documented? How else can our time be represented, this time that we have? Who’s gonna stand up and say, as the gentleman said earlier today, how it really is right now? Who’s gonna express that?”
In describing his process, West spoke of the artists and designers he most admires and how they moved between disciplines to make their work. West said he sees sound as color, sculpture as fashion. “Everything is art,” he stated.
Of his fashion line, West said he plans to “think about what society needs…and how can we provide it to them at a price that’s realistic.” He continued with the story of the Le Corbusier lamp that inspired his 2012 album, Yeezus. What he found so inspiring about this lamp, which cost him more than $100,000, is that the designer originally gave it to the public for free. “It was about everyone having the opportunity to have beauty, to be inspired,” said West.
The following day, West received an honorary doctorate from SAIC during Commencement 2015.