Artist of the Week: KAWS

Art Pieces: KAWSBOB, 808s & Heartbreaks CD Cover

“Friends, work, music, art. It’s important to find the right blend…” 

KAWS, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, is an American artist born in 1974. Donnelly says the name KAWS itself has no particular meaning, he says “It’s just letters that I liked—K-A-W-S. I felt like they always work and function nicely with each other.” KAWS is known for his cartoonish figures with ‘X’s on their eyes, use of vivid colours, and his re-designed versions of popular characters such as The Simpsons and Spongebob Squarepants. KAWS’ talent extents from graffiti to painting, designing and sculpting.

KAWS graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration then went on to work as an animator at Disney where he contributed to films such as 101 Dalmatians but it was his graffiti work that got him noticed by the public and put his work in demand. KAWS’ career really took off when his graffiti grabbed the attention of photographer David Sims whose adverts KAWS was actually defacing. Sims helped KAWS professionalize his art, getting him to paint over real photographs rather that he took. The work they did together led KAWS to do work for magazines such as Vogue. Today KAWS’ creations can be found all over the world, in galleries and museums, in stores and on merchandise. KAWS has designed for renowned brands such as NIKE, Hennessey, MTV and Vans and has even done work for well-known musicians such as Kanye West, creating a CD cover for his album 808s & Heartbreaks.

Recreate this look using:
Polish Pro Blanca for the white
Polish Pro Ebony for the black
Polish Pro Scarlet for the brighter red
Polish Pro Phantom Ranch for the maroon-red
Polish Pro Kiss on the Lift for the lighter grey
Polish Pro Bridezilla and Greige for the darker grey
Polish Pro Midnight Blue for the darker blue
Polish Pro Blue Velvet Rope for the brighter blue
Polish Pro Dreaming of Blue for the lighter blue
Polish Pro Sage it Ain’t So for the pale green
Polish Pro Lime in the Coconut for the olive green
Polish Pro Cactus Juice Cocktail for the blue-green
Polish Pro Bright Magenta for the pink

Chayka, K. [Internet]. 2013. KAWS Is Thriving in the Art World, But Will He Make the History Books?. The website. Available from: [Accessed 23 July 2014]
Maguire, T. [Internet]. N.d. KAWS. The Interview Available from: [Accessed 23 July 2014]
Starbury, A. [Internet]. 2011. Hennessey enlists artist KAWS for limited edition, collabo bottle of V.S Cognac. The website. Available from: [Accessed 9 July]
Street Art Bio. [Internet]. N.d. About Kaws. The Street Art website. Available from:!kaws/c1ox [Accessed 23 July 2014]

Chayka, K. [Accessed 23 July 2014]
Kenna, S. [Accessed 19 June 2014]
Photobucket [Accessed 9 July]
Rollins, B. [Accessed 23 July 2014]