“I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that I do my work for everybody to see. That’s the whole point.”
Brian Donnelly (b. Jersey City, New Jersey, 1974), known professionally as KAWS, is recognized for his use of characters in an artistic practice that bridges painting, prints, sculpture, and toys, and thus is appealing to diverse viewers. KAWS studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and initially worked in animation while getting his start as a graffiti artist. He appropriates and invents characters that he draws on repeatedly; these ultimately make up KAWS’ distinctive artistic vocabulary. Stylistically, he is identifiable through his signature X’s instead of eyes and emphasis on color and line. In his paintings, he deconstructs his characters into abstract works with saturated color. KAWS has also collaborated with global brands and designed album covers, carrying on the tradition of blurring the lines between commercial and fine art. His work, though playful and humorous, is cognizant of universal emotions. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.