While many of his works resemble Asian art, particularly the works of artist Takashi Murakami, KAWS is indeed an American artist who has built a name for himself creating stunning modern works including toys, paintings, and even graffiti art. KAWS was born in 1974 and given the name Brian Donnelly. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York and began his career as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s.
The initial style of KAWS was to take existing advertisements and rework them, applying his distinctive vision to each of them. Along the way he worked for Disney, contributing art to cartoons including Daria, Doug, and 101 Dalmatians. Today, he’s traveled far from his origins as a street artist. He has had work exhibited in a wide range of places including collections in The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and more.
KAWS has even worked with major companies including Nike and Uniqlo, creating shirts and shoes while working to blend the line between commercial art, pop art, and fine art. Gradually, he moved away from his initial focus on street art and painting and began producing toys and sculptures. Some of these toys were collaborations with other artists, while many were solo creations that have been exhibited and sold around the world. In fact, his sculpture “Wonderful World” sold for $400,000 in Tokyo Japan.
In addition to his sculptures and vinyl toys, KAWS also creates paintings, screen prints, clothing, and more. And, he regularly has exhibitions in galleries around the globe while his sculptures can be found in museums everywhere. However, he still produces small runs of his toys to ensure that those who are looking to add one of his works to their home or business. Toys like the Flayed Companion in Blush are perfect examples of his work and his style.
Today, KAWS has unique works of art conjure up images that are familiar, yet just different enough to be mysterious. His toy collection is at times whimsical, cute, grotesque, and more, and uses a combination of colors, shapes, and styles to create something truly interesting and unique. Many of these toys are different interpretations of popular characters from numerous mediums around the world. KAWS toys are prized and highly sought after by collectors, and no matter the specific piece they can make a very wonderful addition to any collection of art.