Skip to content
Szia, ismered Kaws-t?

Hi, do you know Kaws?

Millions are fans of his collaborative products, the biggest companies compete for a joint collection with him, and his paintings sell for millions of dollars. Yet few people know how Brian Donnelly (KAWS) became one of the biggest figures in contemporary art and what is behind the depiction of his characters.

His youth

He was born in 1974 in New Jersey. He spent a large part of his youth drawing and graffiti. He started hitting the streets of Jersey at the age of 12 and found a community through skateboarding. After finishing high school, he moved to New York, where he studied illustration at the university. (School of Visual Arts - New York) Later, he worked as an animator at Jumbo Pictures on the backgrounds of cartoons, where he also participated in illustrating two well-known Disney series. (101 Dalmatians, Daria, Doug). Here he developed his own style reminiscent of cartoon characters.

Notice boards

If you've ever added a rich mustache, glasses, or a pair of satirized teeth to one of the pictures in your textbook, you've had the artistic idea that made KAWS famous in the beginning. Brian transformed the streets of New York into his own style by repainting billboards. Under the cover of night, he broke open the boxes of advertising signs displayed at bus stops, took them home, added his own characters, and then put them back. Thus, his illustrations could appear alongside world brands such as Calvin Klein, Marlboro and Guess. According to KAWS, he had no political motivation for repainting the posters, he simply liked the advertisements. He believed that they are present everywhere and have become a part of our lives. In addition to New York, he also boycotted the advertisements of the advertising industry in Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo. Later, between 2000-2006, he already placed his own works in the place of advertisements, during this period his well-known style and characters were formed.

The first Companion

In 1999, his first toy figure was published in Tokyo by the Japanese streetwear brand Bounty Hunter. The puppet Kaws later says is a dead version of Mickey Mouse. The sales generated a good profit, which provided a financial background for his further work. The sculptures sell for between $9,000 and $10,000 on auction sites these days, but they're nowhere near KAWS' most expensive works.

Collaborations

This started Brian Donnelly's journey towards cooperation with the biggest brands. In the years to come, he worked with the world's biggest streetwear and luxury brands, including: Bathing Ape, Medicom Toy, Undefeated, Supreme, Dior, Comme des Garçons, Uniqlo, Nike... Just one of the brands listed above would blow our minds, but Kaws has designed so many collaborative products that we could not list them all in this article. Not to mention his cartoon collaborations. (Snoopy, The Simpsons, Sesame Street, SpongeBob, etc.)

Solitude

Kaws' sculptures and figures have been given different names, such as Companions, Accomplices, Chums or BFFs, but in the representation of the characters, a global problem, loneliness, can be observed in the same way. When they appear together, they hold each other, embrace each other another. While the sculptures depicted alone are depressed and lonely.

Among the giants

In 2012, he was able to show the world one of his works that he had only dared to dream about before. In the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade through the streets of Manhattan, a 13-meter-long helium-filled Companion "sculpture" flew between Mickey Mouse and several world-famous characters. His works have also become valuable for ordinary people.

Moonman

In 2013, he was asked to redesign the Moonman award for the MTV VMA (Video Music Awards) and played a major role in the design of the show.

Exhibitions

Since becoming a living design legend, Kaws has toured the showrooms of some renowned galleries and museums. His first solo exhibition in 2010, Ridgefield (Connecticut, United States) Conn. It was at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. Since then, his works have traveled all continents.

Sky-high statues

He became famous for his 3D sculpting of his characters, but he wasn't satisfied with vinyl figures displayed on shelves. His giant sculptures have been erected in the world's largest cities, from New York to Hong Kong.

His paintings

Kaws has become a favorite of auction houses in recent years, as his paintings have sold for record sums. Brian stated in an interview that he thinks it is unreasonable to sell his pictures at a price of millions of dollars. (Although he may feel that way because these amounts go into the private accounts of collectors.) His most expensive painting is a repainted Simpsons sofa scene, which sold for $6,258,387 in 2019.

Don't leave yet!

Now you know the story of Brian Donnelly, and if you feel like shopping, click to view our Kaws products.

Previous article WE ARE LOOKING FOR A CUSTOMER SERVICE EMPLOYEE!