Italian contemporary visual artist Vanessa Beecroft has long been considered someone that thrives on “shock value” in both her work and her presentation of it, and as W mag points out, she was referred to as “Hooters for intellectuals” in the New York Times once. That being said, it makes sense that Beecroft has collaborated with West since before the release of his 808’s and Heartbreak album, and contributed visual art direction for West’s short film, Runaway, two years later. The two artists have remained both close friends and collaborators, and most recently, Beecroft assisted West with his latest clothing collection, Yeezy Season 3, which earned her a shout-out at his February Madison Square Garden reveal.
In a new interview with W, Beecroft speaks in-depth about her relationship with Kanye, from their early beginnings–she didn’t even know who Kanye was when he first reached out to her in 2008–to being inspired by his current “non-traditional” approach to social work. The most interesting of her quotes comes after she’s asked about the pros of working with Kanye as opposed to approaching one of her own projects independently, two which Beecroft replies:
What do you like about working with Kanye over creating your own work for galleries and dealers?
When I work with Kanye I am liberated by the fact of being a female, what is considered a white person. I am free from the schemes of the art world, I gain another audience. I am protected by Kanye’s talent. I become black. I am no longer Vanessa Beecroft, and I am free to do whatever I want because Kanye allows it.
You can read the full interview here.