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Basic data

KAWS, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, is a well-known American artist known for his pop culture interventions, sculptures and paintings.

  • Born: 9 February 1974
  • Place of birth: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
  • Nationality: American
  • Studied at: Illustration at the School of Visual Arts, New York
  • Similar artists: Takashi Murakami
  • Era: Contemporary art
  • Stylistic direction: Pop art

His style, which has its roots in the graffiti scene, is characterized by recurring cartoon-like motives, such as the "Companion" figure, which he often uses in an ironic or subversive way. KAWS crosses the boundaries between street art, commercial art, and high culture, exploring themes of consumption, popularity, and globalization.

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KAWS, born Brian Donnelly in 1974 in New Jersey, began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in the 1990s. He studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In the late 1990s, KAWS became known for his subversive interventions in billboards, bus stops and phone booths in and around New York. He added his signature "X" eyes and skellet-like figures to existing images, solidifying his reputation as a street artist. Around the turn of the millennium, KAWS began producing limited edition vinyl toys that quickly became sought-after collectibles. His work in this area led to numerous collaborations with fashion and lifestyle brands, including Comme des Garçons, Uniqlo and Nike.

Over time, KAWS continued to develop his style, creating large-scale sculptures and paintings that took his signature motifs to a new level. His exhibitions and installations attract large audiences worldwide and his work can be found in prestigious art collections. Today, the artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York City.



  • 29.10.2023 - 18.02.2024 Artists Choose Parrish: Part III - Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill.
  • 10.06.2023 - 15.01.2024 Worldbuilding: Gaming And Art In The Digital Age - Centre Pompidou-Metz, Paris.
  • 20.09.2022 - 05.02.2023 Wonderwalls - NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf.
  • 03.12.2021 - 27.03.2022 Kaws: Prints - The High Museum of Art, Atlanta.



  • The KAWS Effect, documentary, Chris Eley, 30 min., UK 2016.



  • KAWS. New Fiction, Daniel Birnbaum, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Bettina Korek, Alexandrea Kleeman, New York 2023.
  • Kaws: He Eats Alone, Germano Celant, Milan 2020.
  • KAWS: WHAT PARTY, Daniel Birnbaum, Eugenie Tsai, New York 2021.
  • KAWS, Monica Ramirez-Montagut, New York 2010.











  • Official website by the artist