Brian Donnelly, aka “KAWS”, manifested himself for the first time in the early 1990s by painting walls and writing graffiti in and around Jersey City and New York. In the mid-1990s, he began appropriating advertisements from bus shelters and phone booths in New York City and painting a graphic, cartoon-like skull-and-crossbones image into them. He continued to develop this motif for the next few years, re-working advertising materials not only in bus shelters and phone booths in New York City, but in Paris, London, Berlin, and Tokyo.
This work has been featured in numerous publications, as well as exhibited at Colette, Paris, PARCO Gallery, Tokyo, MU Art Foundation, the Netherlands, as well as at BAPE Gallery, Tokyo.
His recent work has been influenced by iconic characters from modern pop culture, such as Mickey Mouse, “The Michelin Man”, and The Simpsons. KAWS’ work treads the fine line between art, commerce, cartoons, and commercials. It is a disruption of, as well as a tribute to, all objects produced, bought, sold, exchanged, desired, and cherished. KAWS studied at The School of Visual Arts in New York City, and currently lives in Brooklyn.