Kehinde Wiley Paints Santigold

by Hrag Vartanian on March 1, 2012

I’m as big a a fan of Santigold as anyone, “L.E.S. Artistes” (2008) is a good song and video, but her new album cover (posted below) is of particular interest to the art set. Painted by Kehinde Wiley, the painting on the cover is typical Wiley but with an interesting twist, this is the first time he’s painted a female subject. Typically known for his paintings of young African-American men surrounded by the trappings of historic European painting, this is something new.

On the album cover Santigold (aka Santi White) is depicted three different times: as a mafia don, as Bond girls wearing gold outfits designed by Alexander Wang, and in Wiley’s painting based on Sir Joshua Reynold’s “Portrait of Sir Banastre Tarleton” (1782).

I’m not normally a big Wiley fan but this appears to be a good style choice by Santigold. The album, “The Master of My Make-Believe” is in stores on May 1.

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  • JD Siazon

    Kehinde Wiley’s paintings are done by artists in China.

    • Joyce DadeArtPhoto

      I wonder if you can substantiate your statement above.  Kehinde Wiley wouldn’t be the first one to have others complete his works or follow artistic orders.  He might be the first one to give the bone to China instead of say, United States artists. 

      • JD Siazon

        Kehinde Wiley is supposed to be this black guy painting black people–that’s his gimmick.  So he loses credibility if assistants do his paintings.  That’s why he outsources to China to keep everything hush hush.  

        I can’t say where I heard that Kehinde Wiley’s paintings are done by artists in China nor can I verify that it’s true but I bet you it is.

  • Bennnyv

    Kehinde Wiley joins George Condo and Will Cotton in the group of ‘fine’ artists doing album covers… The arts are collapsing on themselves. I don’t know how I feel about it.

    • Peter Hilaire

      Why is doing an album cover bad?  I assume that it is “selling out?”  Perhaps to some extent, although artists have to feed themselves, so can you begrudge an artist for that?  Hardly.  Nevertheless, there are some projects that are somehow beneath the dignity of a fine artist.  Is it possible that this project fits that category?

  • William Schwaller

    Kehinde Wiley’s first paintings of women actually come a while back when he did a series of paintings for VH1’s Hip Hop Honors back in 2005,

    • Hrag Vartanian

      Good to know. Thanks, William!

  • Michelle Vaughan

    I love this cover for Santigold. She deserves it.

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