Brian Donnelly professionally known as KAWS, is a New York-based artist and designer of limited edition toys and clothing. He began his career as a graffiti artist subverting imagery on billboards, bus shelters and phone booth advertisements. These reworked advertisements were at first left alone, lasting for up to several months, but as KAWS’ popularity skyrocketed, the ads became increasingly sought after. In addition to New York, KAWS has done work in Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo.
In the late 90s, KAWS began to design and produce limited edition vinyl toys, "an instant hit with the global art toy-collecting community, especially in Japan, where this genre is well respected and widespread. KAWS’ acrylic paintings and sculpture have many repeating images, all meant to be universally understood, surpassing languages and cultures. One of KAWS' early series, Package Paintings, was made in 2000. This series, entitled The Kimpsons, subverted the famous American cartoon, The Simpsons. In addition, KAWS has reworked other familiar icons such as Mickey Mouse, the Michelin Man and the Smurfs.
Through all of his projects, KAWS has successfully blurred the line between fine art and mass-produced merchandise. He uses his products to allow his imagery to infiltrate a larger audience than that of the fine art world.
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