KAWS What A Party (2020)
KAWS Boba Fett (2013)
KAWS Family Pink Edition (2022)
KAWS Holiday Space Companions Gold Black Silver (2020)
KAWS Family Brown Edition (2021)
KAWS Take Black Blue Pink (2020)
Kaws 4 Foot Dissected Companion Brown (2009)
Kaws (real name Brian Donnelly) is a New York artist born in 1974 in Jersey City. Coming from the graffiti scene, and quickly exhibited in galleries, he reconciles references to pop culture icons (the Simpsons, the Smurfs, SpongeBob SquarePants), the frontal energy of urban painters (cross eyes, pirate skull ) and large-scale means of production typical of pop art. Its emblematic characters (Chum, Accomplice, Companion) are available in the form of toys, t-shirts, screen prints or original works. Kaws has exhibited his work in the most famous galleries and museums around the world.
Kaws began his career by painting his name in giant letters on walls and posters in New York. He sometimes added a design that became his signature: the skully, a pirate's skull with crossbones shortened to form ears. Kaws went on to distinguish himself from the many New York graffiti artists by hijacking advertising posters. Legend has it that it was another graffiti artist, Barry Mcgee, who gave him a key to open the advertising panels on the bus shelters. Kaws then recovered the posters (Calvin Klein, DKNY, Diesel, etc.), covered the faces with skulls, signed them, and then discreetly put them back in place.
He also developed another character: the bendy, a skull extending from the body of a snake (or sperm?), which wraps around the central character of the poster. This is a real visual kidnapping where the artist engulfs the icons of the consumer society. The objects of desire imposed by the multinationals then become strange figures, both morbid (the skulls) and sexual (the "bendies" that enclose, even pierce the bodies). Kaws worked on advertisements in New York, London, Tokyo and Paris.
In Tokyo, Kaws published his first art toy. The Companion has a Mickey body, a pirate skull, and x-eyes. It was an immediate success with collectors around the world. He then published Chum: this time it has a body reminiscent of the Michelin Man. Still in Tokyo, he created the packaging for Product paintings. The first series of paintings, all measuring 40 × 40 cm, is a take on the Simpsons. The second series of paintings are the characters Chum, Accomplice, and heroes inspired by Astroboy and Hello Kitty in bright colours on a black background.
He also opened Original Fake, a shop inspired by Keith Haring's Pop Shop. Kaws then produced his characters and drawings in the form of T-shirts, trainers, scarves, etc. His art toys are also sold on the site. Kaws always produces in very limited series, and each object quickly becomes sold out. The art toys, usually made in quantities of 500 to 1,000, are sold out in a few hours.
Kaws' universe is populated by recurring characters. Drawing inspiration from popular culture icons, they are both familiar and strange. Originally existing in the form of sketches or drawings, these characters exist in 3 dimensions thanks to the manufacturer Medicom. The figurines, traded today on eBay for up to ten times their original price, lose much of their value if they are sold without their box.
Companion (1999): the “ad disruptions” approach is repeated in 3 dimensions: Mickey's body is “kidnapped”, embellished with a pirate's head with xx eyes.
Accomplice (2002): As he explained in ANP Quarterly magazine, Kaws wanted to undermine his own "street credibility". So he created the sweetest, most ridiculous character possible.
Chum (2002): still the pirate head with the xx eyes on a body that reminds us of the Michelin man.
Bendy (2003): the pirate head on a sperm body.
Companion 5 Years Later (2004): the body of the 1999 character evolves: it becomes thicker, and the legs straighter.
OF Dissected 5YL Companion (2006): one vertical half is that of the Companion 5YL, the other is that of the dissected character, muscles and intestines visible.
JPP (2008): Japanese police mascot with xx eyes
The Class Art Biarritz gallery offers multiple sculptures by Kaws.