10 facts about KAWS, the contemporary artist.


KAWS, an American graffiti artist and designer, is known for his toys, paintings and prints. His COMPANION cartoon statuettes were awarded for pop art and culture. Through his presence of his characters and pieces in big cities, festivities and auctions, the artist is conquering the world.

10 facts about the contemporary artist that are probably unknown will be exposed.

– KAWS is not your real name. The legitimate name of the artist born in 1974 is Brian Donnelly, who studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York and worked as a background painter in animated series.

– It started out as a graffiti artist. The artist was known to mark buildings in New Jersey and Manhattan with his acronym “KAWS”. After that, he started to develop his own and exceptional style that started from the principle of adding cartoon-like figures in the advertisements of bus stops. Later, he converts these jobs into screen printing, including simulating a Calvin Klein ad. His work from graffiti led him to be known by a diverse audience. KAWS did not start in a gallery like most artists because he was fully aware of the advantages of exhibiting his works on the streets, which ended up attracting the attention of several collectors and critics.


– KAWS was present through toys. In 1999, KAWS traveled to Japan thanks to Bounty Hunter to create his first toy “COMPANION”, which sold out almost immediately and became his recurring figure.

– He’s having a great time. A large KAWS’COMPANION inflatable was installed at Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor during Art Basel in March 2019. Some versions of this piece had previously been exhibited in Seoul and Taipei and marked the artist’s rise to fame. According to the 2019 Artnet Intelligence report, the artist’s sales price practically doubled in 2017 and throughout 2018 his work yielded more than 33.8 million in an auction


– Has a great success on instagram. This was a major factor in his rise to the world of contemporary art. At the time the article was written, KAWS had more than 1,440,000 hastags used in posts bearing his name, compared to smaller numbers from other artists. This can be justified by the fact that his pop-art style reliably reproduces online and by his origins as a street artist.

– KAWS compared to Basquiat and Haring. According to historian Michael Auping, KAWS is seen as the “enfant terrible” in New York. He is often compared with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring as his incomparable styles also started on the street. The artist claims that his influences range from Claes Oldenburg and Tom Wesselman to Takashi Murakami.


– He is known to appropriate loved characters. The artist is renowned for revolutionizing iconic cartoon heroes, which reveals his interest in the characters’ universal cultural value.

– Designed a float for the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. In 2012, a KAWS COMPANION balloon was seen floating on the streets of Manhattan as part of the parade alongside characters such as amaickey Mouse and Sonic, which proved KAWS ‘ability to transform art into a spectacle.

– Collaborations. After launching his own clothing brand, Original Fake, the artist started working with streetwear brands like Supreme and Bathing Ape. In 2008, he designed the cover for Kanye West’s album and developed his own pair of Nike Air Jordan. In 2019, at the debut of the collection of designer Dior Kim Jones at Paris Fashion Week, there was a pink flower sculpture of the character “BFF” by KAWS in a mini suit by Dior. He also collaborated with the Campana brothers on a creation of furniture with soft toys that was launched at Art Basel Miami and was purchased by Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner.


– Your work varies widely in price. The artist partnered with NIGO, known as Bathing Ape. For the current collection, the artist recreated the characters of Vila Sésamo for sweatshirts, sweatshirts and toys. These pieces feature the following slogan: “You’re never too old for the street”, sold for less than $ 50, in contrast a painting by the artist in 2012 was sold for $ 2,412,500.

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