Brian Donnelly (b.1974) known professionally as Kaws, is an American based artist and designer.
KAWS began his career as a graffiti artist in Jersey City and in the early 1990s moved to New York to pursue a formal education in the arts. In 1996 he earned a Bachelor in Fine Art, with an emphasis in illustration, from the School of Visual Arts. Immediately after graduation, KAWS began working as a freelance artist for The Walt Disney Company, creating animated backgrounds. Some of his most popular works include his contributions to 101 Dalmations, Daria, and Doug.
Animator by day, and graffiti artist by night, Kaws started subvertising billboards, bus shelters, and phone booths. Soon after his notoriety and popularity reached heights never before expected and these ads became increasingly sought after by the public.
In the late 1990s, KAWS began to design and produce limited-edition vinyl toys. These gained international popularity with an emphasis on colour and his redesign of familiar television and cartoon icons such as Mickey Mouse, The Simpsons, The Michelin man, The Smurfs and SpongeBob SquarePants. His popularity even caused the website of the Museum of Modern Art in New York to crash when it announced the release of his limited edition toys.
He has also been highly praised for his work on acrylic paintings and large sculptures. In 2019 his painting “The Kaws Album” sold for $14.7million at Sotheby’s and his collaborations include Supreme, Nike, Uniqlo, Dior, MTV, North Face, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott and many more.
His work has been shown in Paris, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. and his works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Brooklyn Museum and many more.