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New York-based artist Jeanette Hays paints North West wearing her mother’s Balenciaga boots
Credit: Jeanette Hayes and Kim Kardashian on Instagram

Last week, the publication responsible for 86% of all paid content pushed into my newsfeed by the aggressively basic people I went to high school with interviewed a pair of artists from LA who recently recreated (on canvas) select scenes from Kim Kardashian: Superstar.

For the uninitiated, Kim Kardashian: Superstar is the creatio ex nihilo or the Big Bang of the Kardashian universe. Put simply, it’s Kim’s sex tape, and these two artists – wannabe Olsen twins baiting controversy with impasto depictions of the fellatio heard around the world – succeeded in their mission “to generate a conversation” using arguably the world’s most famous woman as easy inspiration.

But what of those artists inspired by the Kardashians whose schtick isn’t simply limited to cheap shock tactics? This week on Instagram I’ve been so moved by two (of many, no doubt) very talented artists in particular that I decided to write an entire piece devoted to bringing them to your attention. The system works.

Jeanette Hayes
The New York-based, Pratt Institute trained visual artist is a mainstay of both the art and fashion worlds, having collaborated with labels like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang and Opening Ceremony. Hayes is known for her commingling of high and low, creating ironic pastiches by combining revered works from classical art history with the technicolour relics of digital and pop culture, ultimately resulting in the kind of playful juxtapositions that merit the use of the label ‘meta’ in spades. Think Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon posing with the Sailor Squad, various Pokémon invading scenes ripped from Dutch oil paintings or Renaissance friezes painted onto holographic backdrops.

Hayes is also hilarious on each of the social media platforms where her work finds an apt home alongside ~memes~ and pictures of her work in progress filtered, of course, through the lenses of Snapchat. Thus it was on Instagram yesterday that Hayes posted a painterly interpretation of Kim Kardashian’s recent portrait of her daughter North wearing new season, 34-inch high, reflective silver Balenciaga boots.

Maybe I’ve lost the plot but I think it’s perfect. ✨?

Pauly Bonomelli
Closer to home, multi-disciplinary Western Australian artist Pauly Bonomelli – who works under the moniker Hi mum, I’m dead – first made a name for himself through the astounding custom pieces he created while working at Ksubi, where he did things with denim that wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery and fast found fans in acts like Die Antwoord and Rihanna. Bonomelli, who treats his pieces as bespoke one-offs, has continued to find favour with artists like those from the A$AP Mob (Rocky is a big fan) and Kanye West; the latter wore one of the artist’s distressed graffiti denim jackets to the Yeezy Season 2 launch, and Kim Kardashian has also since been photographed wearing the same piece.

Sixteen weeks ago, Bonomelli published a photo of a work in progress prominently featuring a likeness of Kim’s iconic cry face. It would appear that this week the work was completed. Both Bonomelli and photographer Byron Spencer posted images of the finished pieces featuring said cry face plastered with lyrics by the Smashing Pumpkins: “And I still believe that we cannot be saved”. Bleak and beautiful. I’ll take it.

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Credit: (Clockwise from top left) the E! Network, naturally; Pauly Bonomelli on Instagram

Tile and cover image: Instagram

thoughts?