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💋 thanks @art_wine_cheese_bar teggs lane, Chippendale. #sydney @kanyedoingthings #jenlewis #kanyewest #kanye #yeezy #yeezyboost #lifeofpablo The meme used as reference for this painting was created by @thisjenlewis from original 📷 by @merrittography ✌🏻️ thanks guys!
A photo posted by Scott Marsh (@scottie.marsh) on
You may remember this image as a Photoshop by BuzzFeed’s Jen Lewis that Kanye allegedly wanted “removed from the Internet,” but artist Scott Marsh expanded it into a huge mural in Sydney last month. He’s also selling prints of the painting, which depicts one Kanye lovingly caressing another Kanye’s butt.
At some point, Marsh made Kanye what seemed like an unserious offer: $100,000 and a lifetime supply of Yeezy Boost sneakers in exchange for the mural’s destruction.
“I was contacted by someone claiming to be his management offering me a five-figure sum to paint over the mural. I asked for six figures and a lifetime supply of Yeezy Boosts, they are yet to respond,” he told the blog Life Without Andy.
Now Marsh claims that a representative for West has coughed up the $100,000 (though not the Boosts). He’s painted over the mural, leaving only one of Kanye’s fingers for fans to remember it by.
The BBC confirmed that the mural has been erased, but takes only Marsh’s word about the $100,000 payday.
But who really paid the money, wonders skeptic Nicole Silverberg at GQ? Kanye hasn’t commented, so it could be anyone. Martin Shkreli? He allegedly paid millions for a fake leak of Kanye’s The Life of Pablo, so why not?
I’ll go one step further and suggest that maybe no one paid the money, making this the perfect stunt. A good deception draws the audience in on a string of easily believable facts, and we’ve got a few here. Point A: Someone on Reddit claimed Kanye wanted the original Kanye Loves Kanye Photoshop deleted, and a lot of people believed it. Point B: Marsh really did offer on his website to paint over the mural for $100,000.
It’s not hard, either, to accept point C: that Kanye’s ego would drive him to erase public art in which he sensuously feels up his own doppelgänger.
But consider some counter-evidence: Kanye is not one to do something audacious and not tweet about it. Plus, as GQ points out, giving up a mural is a small price to pay for the publicity and caché that comes with the public thinking you’ve got six figures to destroy your own image.
Especially given that Scott Marsh told Life Without Andy that he was getting tired of being pigeonholed as “the rapper guy” after his Kanye work and another notable mural of The Notorious B.I.G. this seems like a convenient way out, non?
On the other hand, maybe Marsh is telling the truth. When it comes to Kanye, Occam’s Razor may not apply.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.