KAWS - Contemporary Evening Sale London Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles
    Private Collection, Italy
    Private Collection, London

  • Exhibited

    Ridgefield, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, KAWS: Solo Show, 27 June 2010 - 2 January 2011

  • Catalogue Essay

    KAWS, born Brian Donnelly, creates bold, bright work that brings together the spheres of fine art and commerce. The name KAWS was originally
    his graffiti tag, Donnelly claims “there’s no meaning to it” and he was simply attracted to the arrangement of the letters. His refined comic book
    aesthetic clearly derives some of its character from his early graffiti work in its bold colours and lines. His oeuvre reinterprets cartoon figures such
    as SpongeBob Square Pants, Mickey Mouse and the Smurfs, characters widely familiar to a vast audience. His work is intended to be accessible to
    everyone: “I just want to make stuff that no one is ever too stupid to get.” (KAWS quoted in Cesar Pesari, KAWS Covers Paper Magazine’s November
    2013 Art Issue, 6 November, 2013). Having worked briefly for Disney after graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York, KAWS is well placed
    to transform and re-imagine today’s most iconic characters.

    KAWS describes his acrylic paintings as “graphic shapes that may or may not recall familiar imagery” (KAWS, www.blouinartinfo.com). The
    paintings are not made in a traditional way: he first draws the image by hand, then redraws it on a computer using Adobe Illustrator. The image
    is then printed out and projected, from which the final painting is made.

    In Projector, the large X that dominates the canvas references his cartoon figures, for which he replaces their eyes with Xs. The image can therefore
    be understood as an abstracted version of one of his cartoon characters. The storage of the painting in an acrylic box refers to collectible toys -
    KAWS is famed for his plastic toys which, like his paintings, revisit popular characters. By packaging the paintings in such a way, KAWS attempted
    to bridge the gap between toys and art. KAWS’s wide-ranging production straddles fine and commercial art, disturbing the traditional hierarchy. For
    KAWS, art and product are one and the same. Fine art, therefore, has not been his sole focus, instead his “goal has been just to figure out how to get
    through life making stuff.”

  • Artist Biography


    American • 1974

    To understand the work of KAWS is to understand his roots in the skateboard and graffiti crews of New York City. Brian Donnelly chose KAWS as his moniker to tag city streets beginning in the 1990s, and quickly became a celebrated standout in the scene. Having swapped spray paint for explorations in fine art spanning sculpture, painting and collage, KAWS has maintained a fascination with classic cartoons, including Garfield, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons, and reconfigured familiar subjects into a world of fantasy. 

    Perhaps he is most known for his larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures that supplant the body of Mickey Mouse onto KAWS' own imagined creatures, often with 'x'-ed out eyes or ultra-animated features. However, KAWS also works frequently in neon and vivid paint, adding animation and depth to contemporary paintings filled with approachable imagination. There is mass appeal to KAWS, who exhibits globally and most frequently in Asia, Europe and the United States.  

    View More Works



acrylic on canvas
153 x 152.8 cm (60 1/4 x 60 1/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'KAWS 10' on the reverse.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £98,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Evening Sale

London Auction 2 July 2014 7pm