Brian Donnelly (born 1974), known professionally as KAWS, is an American graffiti artist and designer known for his toys and paintings. His work includes repeated use of a cast of figurative characters and motifs, some dating back to the beginning of his career in the 1990s. Now he is a pop culture phenomenon, boasting an impressive following of 1,5 million followers on Instagram alone.
KAWS is often likened to fellow New Yorkers Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat who also started their careers as graffiti artists. But it was his obsession with creating an iconic character called ‘Bendy’ and vinyl toys that steadily grew his street appeal in urban centres across the globe.
His style is instantly recognisable, using his trademark “XX” logo (the dead eyes), which he has shared with big brand collaborators such as BAPE, Supreme, Nike, Uniqlo, Marc Jacobs and Kanye West to mention just a few.
Although KAWS does not separate product from art or art from product, it was only a matter of time before the art world caught up with him.