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KAWS Mixed Media

American

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. Today, KAWS creates all kinds of art — there are KAWS figures and toys, sculptures and colorful drawings, paintings and prints that appropriate pop phenomena like the Smurfs, the Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants.

In the late 1990s, 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 KAWS statues and other 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.”

KAWS's 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.

Learn how to spot a fake KAWS art toy, and browse authentic KAWS figures, prints, sculptures and mixed media works on 1stDibs.

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Artist: KAWS
KAWS: HOLIDAY JAPAN Mount Fuji Ceramic Plate Set (Set of 4)
By KAWS
Located in NEW YORK, NY
KAWS: HOLIDAY JAPAN Mount Fuji Ceramic Plate Set (Set of 4): This standout KAWS ceramic plate set was published by All Rights Reserved to commemorate the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Pop Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Resin, Vinyl

Yellow Snake skateboard, hand numbered 46/500 Street Art Pop Art skate deck LtEd
By KAWS
Located in New York, NY
KAWS Yellow Snake, 2005 Silkscreen on 100% Canadian 7-Ply Maplewood Skateboard 31 × 8 × 3/10 inches Limited Edition of 500 (skate deck is hand numbered 46/500) Rare limited edition e...
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Early 2000s Street Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Wood, Mixed Media, Permanent Marker, Screen

KAWS, Signed New Fiction Hardback Book, 2023
By KAWS
Located in Manchester, GB
KAWS Signed New Fiction Hardback Book, 2023 Hardback book 9 1/2 × 7 7/10 in 24.1 × 19.6 cm Hand-signed New Fiction hardback book from Phaidon's sold out release of this art book, f...
Category

2010s Contemporary KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Magazine Paper

KAWS FAMILY (grey KAWS Family companion)
By KAWS
Located in NEW YORK, NY
KAWS FAMILY 2021: A well-received work and variation of KAWS' larger FAMILY sculpture - this highly collectible KAWS Companion set was published on the occ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Pop Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Resin, Vinyl

Cat Teeth Bank
By KAWS
Located in New York, NY
KAWS Cat Teeth Bank (Navy Blue) in original box, 2007 Limited Edition painted cast vinyl 5 × 5 × 1 in Edition of 400 Stamped on the underside This long sold out 2007 KAWS...
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Early 2000s Street Art KAWS Mixed Media

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Limited Edition KAWS Companion Silkscreened Towel/Wall Hanging LARGE 67" X 35.5"
By KAWS
Located in New York, NY
KAWS Oversized Limited Edition Beach Towel/Wall Hanging, 2016 Limited Edition Silkscreen on 100% Cotton with Original Tags attached LARGE: 67 × 35 1/2 × 3/10 inches when unfolded New - ships folded (Measures 28" x 15" x 3" when folded) Very limited edition created though exact amount unknown. Already a rare collectors' item, this stunning, gigantic limited edition 100% cotton towel is 67 inches high - approx. 5 1/2 feet -- and would look amazing when framed and hung on a wall. But it can also be used as an actual beach towel - sure to make an unforgettable statement. To commemorate the 26 foot tall BFF statue that was installed at the Bangkok Embassy in Thailand on June 30th, 2016, KAWS released a very limited amount of apparel and collectibles. The items were available exclusively at Siwilai Store Bangkok and online at Ding Dong Takuhaibin, selling out immediately. This towel highlights the full-body of the much loved BFF character, on a dark blue towel...
Category

2010s Street Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Cotton, Screen, Mixed Media

Hasebe LP
By KAWS
Located in Washington , DC, DC
This vinyl record was designed by KAWS in 2002, very early into his career for DJ Hasebe. This is a rare Japan only release
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

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Blanket (Red)
By KAWS
Located in London, GB
100% superfine cashmere 50.98 x 70.98 in (129.5 x 180.3 cm) Edition of 80. Sold in 'as new' / unused condition and in original packaging (as issued). Sold unframed.
Category

2010s Street Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Wool

Kaws Blush Set Flayed & Companion YUZ Museum China Decorative Figures Pop Urban
By KAWS
Located in Draper, UT
KAWS is a multi-faceted artist straddling the worlds of art and design in his prolific body of work that ranges from paintings, murals, and large-scale sculptures to product design a...
Category

2010s Pop Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Resin, Vinyl

KAWS Travis Scott record art
By KAWS
Located in NEW YORK, NY
After KAWS Travis Scott Record Art, “The Scotts”: Offset lithograph on vinyl record jacket & record labels. 2020. Dimensions: 12 x 12 inches. Condition...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Street Art KAWS Mixed Media

Materials

Offset

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Kaws mixed media for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic KAWS mixed media available for sale on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing the collection of mixed media to introduce a pop of color in a neutral corner of your living room or bedroom, you can find work that includes elements of purple, blue, orange and other colors. You can also browse by medium to find art by KAWS in paint, synthetic resin paint, vinyl paint and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 21st century and contemporary and is mostly associated with the Pop Art style. Not every interior allows for large KAWS mixed media, so small editions measuring 3 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Shawn Kolodny, Plastic Jesus, and Banksy. KAWS mixed media prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $132 and tops out at $18,500, while the average work can sell for $2,106.
Questions About KAWS Mixed Media
  • Irena Orlov ArtMarch 1, 2021
    Kaws' Companion is a clown-like figure based on a Mickey Mouse with X-ed out eyes.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    A KAWS figure is a toy or figurine comparable to an action figure, created by the American artist, Brian Donnelly, who is known professionally as KAWS. Called ‘companions’, the figures are in KAWS’ signature style, and monster-size versions have been seen everywhere from Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Shop a selection of KAWS pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 27, 2024
    What is so special about KAWS is that the American artist creates imaginative pieces that appropriate pop phenomena like the Smurfs, the Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants. He is particularly well known for his toys, including his debut figure, Companion, inspired by Mickey Mouse. He has also teamed up with streetwear brands like A Bathing Ape and Supreme and collaborated with designer Kim Jones on the Dior Homme Spring/Summer 2019 collection. Find a range of KAWS art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 1, 2024
    KAWS is famous for producing figures, toys, sculptures, drawings, paintings and prints that borrow from pop culture phenomena like the Smurfs, the Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants. In 1999, he partnered with Bounty Hunter, a Japanese toy and streetwear brand, to release his first toy. Called Companion, it was an 8-inch-tall vinyl reimagining of Mickey Mouse, with a skull-and-crossbones head and XX eyes. Companion debuted with a limited run of 500 and sold out quickly. The piece was the first of more than 130 toy designs by KAWS, which came to include such characters as Chum, Blitz, Be@rbrick, BFF and Milo, each immediately recognizable as KAWS figures by their XX eyes. Explore a selection of KAWS art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 13, 2024
    KAWS art is the general term for works created by the American artist KAWS. He is best known for his more than 130 toy designs, which include such characters as Chum, Blitz, Be@rbrick, BFF and Milo, each immediately recognizable as his work by their XX eyes. In addition, KAWS produces sculptures, drawings, paintings and prints. On 1stDibs, shop a range of KAWS art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 1, 2024
    The word KAWS means an American artist. Born Brian Donnelly, KAWS adopted the name when he was active as a graffiti artist in New Jersey and New York. In interviews, he has explained that KAWS has no particular meaning to him. He simply chose the name because he liked how the characters looked. He is most well known for his line of whimsical figures with double-X eyes. Explore a range of KAWS art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMay 14, 2024
    There is no owner of KAWS. KAWS is not a company or a business; it is the name of artist Brian Donnelly. He got his start as a graffiti artist in New Jersey and used the tag KAWS to sign his work because he liked the way it looked. Today, KAWS creates all kinds of art. There are KAWS figures and toys, sculptures and colorful drawings, paintings and prints that appropriate pop culture phenomena like the Smurfs, the Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants. Shop a variety of KAWS art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 16, 2024
    No, Bearbrick and KAWS are not the same. However, they have collaborated with one another many times. KAWS is the pseudonym of the artist Brian Donnelly, while Bearbrick is a brand of collectible designer toys produced by the Japanese company MediCom Toy Incorporated. On 1stDibs, find a variety of KAWS art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Yes, KAWS are always produced in limited edition runs. KAWS is a New York-based artist who designs limited edition toys and clothing. He is known for creating figurines that mix both high- and low-brow art. Widely popular with pop culture enthusiasts and collectors, KAWS art can only be found through select retailers. Find a range of KAWS art for sale on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    KAWS is an American artist, toy and clothing designer. Born in New Jersey under the name Brian Donnelly, he became interested in graffiti very early on. He earned a BFA and began working for Disney. His artwork gained popularity and he began traveling and designing toys and clothing while continuing art and sculptures. On 1stDibs, find a variety of original artwork from top artists.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 25, 2024
    The artist behind KAWS is Brian Donnelly. As a kid in Jersey City, New Jersey, he got into graffiti art, using KAWS as his tag. Today, KAWS creates a diverse range of art and design objects. There are KAWS figures and toys, sculptures, colorful drawings, paintings and prints that appropriate pop phenomena like the Smurfs, the Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants. On 1stDibs, shop a range of KAWS art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMay 5, 2023
    A KAWS FAMILY set is a collection of four sculptures created by artist Brian “KAWS” Donnelly that come in a set. The term family refers to the fact that the set comprises two large and two small figures, so side by side, they resemble parents and children. Donnelly released the sets on September 13, 2021, in an assortment of colorways. On 1stDibs, find a selection of authentic KAWS sculptures.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 21, 2024
    What KAWS’s art means is open to interpretation. In the late 1990s, 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. Companion is now the most visible of the KAWS posse, appearing over the past decade in new postures and combinations in monumental works. 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 explained in the catalogue for an exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in Texas. “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.” On 1stDibs, find a diverse assortment of KAWS art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Yes, artist Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS, does make his own art. He admits he has a regimented schedule now that he has children, and finds that this has made him more productive, allowing him to focus on sculptures and paintings in the mornings. On 1stDibs, find a variety of original artwork from top artists.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 13, 2024
    The most popular KAWS art is a topic that is open to debate. However, his first-ever toy design is a favorite among collectors. Called COMPANION, it is an eight-inch-tall vinyl reimagining of Mickey Mouse with a skull-and-crossbones head and trademark XX eyes. COMPANION debuted with a limited run of 500 and sold out quickly. Find an assortment of KAWS figures on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 16, 2024
    KAWS uses acrylic paint for many of his works. The artist has said in the past that he has custom paints produced for him by the company Golden. When painting his figurines, KAWS uses a technique that makes the brushstrokes virtually invisible. Find a variety of KAWS art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 3, 2024
    How KAWS makes his sculptures varies. The New Jersey-born artist Brian “KAWS” Donnelly works with a variety of materials, including fiberglass, wood and bronze. By mixing up his techniques and experimenting with different mediums, KAWS can incorporate various colors and textures into his sculptures, figures and toys, and continues to innovate his practice.

    In 1999, KAWS partnered with Bounty Hunter, a Japanese toy and streetwear brand, to release his first toy. 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 (and counterfeiters have since taken notice).

    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.

    Find authentic KAWS art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    The KAWS Take open edition is a type of vinyl figurine sold as a decorative object or work of art. Arton Contemporary produces the figurines in limited quantities. The open edition Take debuted in 2020. On 1stDibs, shop a selection of KAWS art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Brooklyn, New York artist KAWS uses a variety of mediums for his work, with acrylic painting, screen prints and sculptures being the most predominant. On 1stDibs, find a collection of authentic KAWS pieces from some of the world’s top sellers.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 21, 2024
    What makes KAWS’s art unique is the artist's innovative approach to his work. The American artist seamlessly blends elements of Pop art, street art and popular culture into his pieces. He is known for putting a creative spin on familiar characters and his playful figurines, which often feature double-X eyes. On 1stDibs, shop a variety of art by KAWS.

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