Frankly, we’ve been keyed into North West’s artistic potential ever since she presented a conceptual assemblage of found objects centered on her family’s Elf on the Shelf doll when she was just five years old. But much of the rest of the internet, apparently, remains wary of the young West’s possible talents. When her mother, the socialite and media personality Kim Kardashian West, uploaded an oil painting she proclaimed the now 7-year-old produced, many on Twitter called foul. “THERE IS NO WAY THAT 7 YEAR OLD PAINTED THIS,” read one particularly bothered and popularly liked Tweet. “NO F*CKING WAY.”
As it turn out, however, there is mounting evidence that that 7-year-old did in fact paint that.
The painting in question is pretty standard “learn to paint” fare, the type that the late television host Bob Ross inspired many before West to make. The composition involves two trees in the foreground, a mountain in the background, and a river dividing them. (Compared to West’s “Elf on the Shelf” work, there’s not much to digest intellectually, but even if the wider Kardashian clan are noted fans of Jeff Koons, we still support all artists going back to master the basics of their craft).
If it seems sort of basic, that’s because it actually is.
Tracy Romulus, a friend of Kardashian West with a daughter who is also close with North, explained that the girls are actually in an art class together.
“Both girls are in art class together and learning oil painting techniques from an instructor,” Romulus wrote in an Instagram Story according to Page Six. “They spend weeks at a time on a single painting and are incredibly proud of themselves once they complete a project.”
Since sharing the initial snapshot of the painting, Kardashian West has jumped to her daughter’s defense on Instagram Stories, citing her husband’s childhood creations as genetic evidence that North did in fact paint that landscape. She also called out the “op-ed pieces in the media and social media from grown adults breaking down whether or not my child actually painted this” and accused them of not allowing “children doing awesome things” to be seen as, well, awesome.
A TikToker has also come forward to vouch for the painting’s authenticity. The user claims that her mother is actually North’s art teacher, and shows that she was able to paint in a similar style back when she was just seven as well.
We can’t completely authenticate the TikToker’s claims, but a simple Google search reveals that it’s certainly not hard to find examples of other young children painting in a similar style. In fact, there are plenty of examples of children around that age who can paint even better. Mikail Akar, a seven-year-old, is currently the toast of the German art scene. Aelita Andre made headlines in 2014 for becoming an art star at the same age. Seven-year-old Rithun Kunal has also begun to sell his paintings in his native India.
In other words, yes, the world has many second graders who can paint better than you can. That one of them just happens to be Kim and Kanye’s daughter isn’t even all that surprising.