Brian Donnelly (b. 1974 in Jersey City, New Jersey), known professionally as KAWS, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1974. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in illustration in 1996.
KAWS began his career as a graffiti artist in Jersey City and New York City, then moved on to product collaborations with commercials brands, acrylic paintings, sculptures, and prints. He uses repeating comic-inspired motifs and images in his brightly colored works, intended to be language-less and universally understood. KAWS draws from pop art influences such as Claes Oldenburg and Tom Wesselmann, and seamlessly bridges together the realms of commercial and fine art. His toys and other products are not a subset of his work as an artist or a money-making gig, but are rather a part of his practice as a whole.
KAWS has collaborated with brands such as A Bathing Ape, Nike, Uniqlo, and has also designed magazine covers for The New Yorker, Clark Magazine, and i-D. His works have also been shown at Colette (Paris), the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, and the Brooklyn Museum. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
In 2014, we were proud to honor the artist in RxART’s 14th Anniversary PARTY.