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KAWS
KAWS, 'MBF: Man's Best Friend' X, 2016

2016

$16,000

About

The ‘Man's Best Friend' X by KAWS is a signed, numbered, and dated silkscreen print, one of the ten in the portfolio series created in 2016. The portfolio was created in a limited edition of only 100, with 20 artist proofs on Saunders Waterford High White paper. The measurements of the unframed artwork measure: 35 x 23 in. / 89 x 58 cm. The KAWS motif has become instantly recognizable with nostalgic cartoon characters transformed into near-abstract monochromatic enigmas. Known for his iconic characters with X’s on their eyes and gloves, KAWS delivers his classic dose of street-art meets contemporary art in this aesthetically minimalist work. In MBF, the beloved 'Snoopy' (KAWS playfully renamed him “Joe KAWS.”) and 'Charlie Brown' from the comic strip 'Peanuts' by Charles Schulz has been reimagined in sophisticated contemporary form. From 1950 until his death in 2005, Schulz’s cherished characters appeared in international and national newspapers every day, deeply rooting themselves in generations of globally diverse viewers. KAWS explains, “I’m into Schulz as an artist, a company, and an icon; I got into his stuff just because I liked the looseness of the line work, and I thought that it was just sort of a nice thing to bring into my paintings, even if it’s abstract and unidentifiable” (KAWS / Steff Yotka from Vogue, 2017). The 'Man's Best Friend' X is sold as an individual print and comes with the Arton seal of approval for authenticity, quality, and exquisite condition. Questions on this piece? Send us a note or call us directly. KAWS, born in 1974, is a New-York based artist who first gained international attention by designing limited edition toys and clothing. He practiced his now iconic style as a young graffiti artist who chose his moniker, KAWS, and later said of his name, "when your whole art is based on the lettering you choose, you kinda figure out what ones work together. I just liked the shapes of the K, A, W, S". KAWS grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. He studied at the School of Visual Arts, New York, graduating with a BFA in 1996. Upon graduating, he began working as an animator for Disney, contributing to films and TV shows including 101 Dalmatians, Daria, and Doug. His passion for graffiti art led him to the re-working of advertisements, ‘subvertising’ a counter-culture to the mainstream. Commercial advertisers, interested in the street culture and visual communication, liked his bold style and KAWS was asked to rework their advertisements on bus shelters and billboards around the city. From his start to present day, KAWS and commercialism have become inextricably intertwined. In 1999, KAWS designed his first toy for the Japanese company Bounty Hunter, a vinyl figure of rounded Mickey Mouse shape with x-ed out eyes, a motif which has now become a signature due to its popularity. KAWS has since been invited to collaborate with many other streetwear labels and designers, such as Nike, Uniqlo, Dior and Commes Des Garcons. In early 2019, his painting THE KAWS ALBUM (2005) sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong auction for a record-breaking $14.8 million. The piece is a take on The Simpsons The Yellow Album, which itself is an impression of the iconic cover sleeve for the 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, originally co-designed by artist Peter Blake (b. 1932). In THE KAWS ALBUM, each figure has been replaced with a character from his ‘Kimpsons’ series. KAWS is now recognized globally for his large-scale public art installations, which see his subversive cartoon characters inflated to gigantic proportions. Most notable among these installations was Holiday (2019) which floated in the Hong Kong harbor during Art Basel Hong Kong. KAWS is now an internationally recognized and multi-faceted artist with work that can be found in the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, and the Rosenblum Collection, Paris. To learn more about this artist and see other available artworks, please visit our website.

Details

  • Creator
  • Creation Year
    2016
  • Dimensions
    Height: 35 in. (88.9 cm)Width: 23 in. (58.42 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Framing
    Framing Options Available
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU83517511182

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Ships From: New York, NY
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About KAWS (Artist)

In the beginning, Brian Donnelly was just a kid from Jersey City, New Jersey, who got into the graffiti thing. KAWS was his tag, chosen simply because he liked the way it looked. It was the late 1990s, and the artist, a 1996 graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, was making a living as an illustrator for the animation studio Jumbo Pictures.


Like young Hansel and Gretel with their trail of crumbs, KAWS would mark the morning route to his downtown Manhattan office with “subvertising,” “interrupting” fashion advertisements by adding his colorful character Bendy, its sinuous length sliding playfully around the likes of a Calvin Klein perfume bottle or supermodel Christy Turlington.


These creations gained a following, to the point where work posted in the morning would disappear by lunchtime. Even in those early days, KAWS was hot on the resale market.


“When I was doing graffiti,” he once explained, “it meant nothing to me to make paintings if I wasn’t reaching people.” Instead of seeking entrée to the elite New York art world (which, frankly, wasn’t looking for a street artist anyway), KAWS moved to Japan, where a flourishing youth culture welcomed visionaries like him.


In 1999, he partnered with Bounty Hunter, a Japanese toy and streetwear brand, to release his first toy. Companion — an eight-inch-tall vinyl reimagining of Mickey Mouse, with a skull-and-crossbones head and trademark XX eyes — debuted with a limited run of 500. It sold out quickly.


Companion was the first of more than 130 toy designs, which came to include such characters as Chum, Blitz, Be@rbrick, BFF and Milo, each immediately recognizable as KAWS figures by their XX eyes. Fans have proved insatiable. In 2017, MoMA’s online store announced the availability of a limited supply of KAWS Companion figures; as avid collectors logged on to stake their claim, the website crashed — multiple times.


Companion is the most visible of the KAWS posse, appearing over the past decade in new postures and combinations in monumental works. These include Along the Way (2013), an 18-foot-tall wooden sculpture of two Companions leaning on each other for support; Together (2016), two Companions in a friendly embrace, which debuted during an exhibition of KAWS’s work at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in Texas; and KAWS:HOLIDAY (2018), a 92-foot-long inflatable Companion floating on its back in Seoul’s Seokchon Lake. The sculptures were re-created as toys, blurring the lines between art and commerce.


KAWS’s visual language may be drawn from cartoons, but his work doesn’t necessarily evoke childlike joy. “My figures are not always reflecting the idealistic cartoon view that I grew up on,” he explains in the catalogue for the Fort Worth exhibition. “Companion is more real in dealing with contemporary human circumstances . . . . I think when I’m making work it also often mirrors what’s going on with me at that time.”


Today, KAWS’s oeuvre encompasses toys, sculptures and colorful paintings and prints that appropriate pop phenomena like the Smurfs, the Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants. His résumé reads like a record of major 21st-century pop-culture moments. It includes his work with streetwear brands like A Bathing Ape and Supreme; his design for the cover of Kanye West’s 2008 album, 808s & Heartbreak; and his collaboration with designer Kim Jones on the Dior Homme Spring/Summer 2019 collection, Jones’s debut as the fashion brand’s creative director.


Browse KAWS prints, sculptures and other works on 1stDibs.

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