KAWS  (American, 1974) 

KAWS (American, b.1974) is a notable limited-edition toy and clothing designer. He was born in Jersey City, NJ, as Brian Donnelly. Growing up in New Jersey, KAWS first became interested in graffiti in elementary school, where he spent a good deal of time copying graffiti images onto paper. His first influences were neighborhood children, who painted graffiti images on walls within his community. As he grew older, his influences came from traditional life painters, such as Gerhard Richter (German, b.1932), Klaus Oldenberg (Swedish, b.1929), and Chuck Close (American, b.1940).

KAWS’s career began as a graffiti artist in New York, NY, in the early 1990s. His images were seen on billboards, bus stops, and in phone booths. He obtained his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Immediately after graduation in 1996, KAWS began working as a freelance artist for Disney, creating animated backgrounds. Some of his most popular works include his contributions to 101 Dalmations, Daria, and Doug. Once KAWS began to gain popularity, his graffiti advertisements became highly sought after. He traveled extensively to work in Paris, London, Germany, and Japan. In 1998, he received the Pernod Liquid Art Award, which offers a grant to new artists.

In late 1990s, KAWS began to design and produce limited-edition toys. These gained international popularity, especially in Japan. He also began to collaborate on several different toys, including with Nigo (Japanese, b.1970) for A Bathing Ape. Some of KAWS’s other popular collaborative works include his redesign of Mickey Mouse, The Michelin Man, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The artist’s solo exhibitions have been held at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT, the Harris Museum in Preston, UK, the Parco Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, and the City Gallery Chastain in Atlanta, GA. His solo exhibition, OriginalFake at the Bape Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, featured a sculpture entitled Wonderful World, which sold for US$400,000. KAWS’s traveling exhibition, Beautiful Losers, toured throughout Europe and the United States and included a showing at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Find KAWS artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art
KAWS, Companion 4ft Black


Companion 4ft Black

KAWS, Astroboy (Product Painting)


Astroboy (Product Painting)

Guy Hepner
KAWS, Miffy and Baby


Miffy and Baby

Guy Hepner
KAWS, Dissected Companion 4ft Black


Dissected Companion 4ft Black

Guy Hepner
KAWS, Dissected Companion 4ft Brown


Dissected Companion 4ft Brown

Guy Hepner
KAWS, Dissected Companion 4ft Grey


Dissected Companion 4ft Grey

Guy Hepner
KAWS, Dissected Companion (Black)


Dissected Companion (Black)

Adam Biesk Inc.
KAWS, Untitled


Peach Editions
Past auction results (89)  View All


sculptures, mixed media


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KAWS, Untitled


Untitled, 1997
acrylic on cardboard


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KAWS, KAWSBOB (Closed Mouth)


KAWSBOB (Closed Mouth), 2009
acrylic on canvas


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1974   Born in Jersey City, NJ
1996   BFA School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.
1998   Recipient, Pernod Liquid Art Award
  Studied at The School of Visual Arts in New York City
  Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
2013   At home I´m a tourist’ Colección de Selim Varol - CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Málag
2012   Kaws - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris, Paris
Imaginary Friends - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris, Paris
Companion - The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
The Nature of Need - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris, Paris
Kaws: Down Time - The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
2011   FOCUS: KAWS - The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Hold The Line - Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, CA
Kaws - Companion (passing Through) - The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
2010   The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (solo)
2009   Plastic Culture, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Great Britain (solo)
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France; traveling
Plastic Culture, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, UK
Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, CA
Just what is it that makes today's painting so different, so appealing?, Gering & López Gallery, New York
2008   Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL
Gering & López Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2004 - 2008   Beautiful Losers, Curated by Aaron Rose & Christian Strike, Le Tri Postal, Lille, France
2006   Info Babble, Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase, NY
Ugly Winners, Galerie Du Juor Agnes B., Paris, France
2004   Palazzo Dell’Arte, Milan, Italy
USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL
Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
Yerba Buena Arts Center, San Francisco, CA
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
2003   SK8 on the Wall, Parco Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Original Fake, BAPE Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2002   Elms Lesters Painting Room, London, UK (solo)
Session The Bowl , Deitch Projects, New York, NY
ALIFE Shop, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
Coded Language, City Gallery Chastain , Atlanta, GA
2001   Shortcuts, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Athens, Greece
Pierides Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
New Acquisitions from the Dakis Joannou Collection , Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece
Tokyo First , Parco Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1999   Colette, Paris, France (solo)