KAWS, ‘UNTITLED’, 2014, TWO x TWO

estimated retail value: $28,000

In this work, a close-up of Snoopy’s snout bears KAWS’ signature “X” mark placed on the eyes. The “X,” a frequent symbol in his work, evolved from his graffiti days of painting crossbones over ads, eventually reducing it down to its basics. The final work is reminiscent of greats like Warhol and Lichtenstein in its graphic quality, and yet feels completely fresh in its use of contemporary pop-culture icons

New York-based graffiti artist Brian Donnelly, professionally known as KAWS, is multitalented, creating a wide range of work that includes paintings, sculptures, a 41-foot high balloon for Macy’s 2012 Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the album art for Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak. His acrylic paintings have many repeating images – pop icons like Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob Squarepants, The Simpsons, Smurfs, and the Michelin Man – that he intentionally appropriates and reworks. In this work, a close-up of Snoopy’s snout bears KAWS’ signature “X” mark placed on the eyes. The “X,” a frequent symbol in his work, evolved from his graffiti days of painting crossbones over ads, eventually reducing it down to its basics. The final work is reminiscent of greats like Warhol and Lichtenstein in its graphic quality, and yet feels completely fresh in its use of contemporary pop-culture icons. KAWS’ work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield. Focus: KAWS took place at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2011, and KAWS will have a major exhibition at The Modern in 2016.

websites: www.honorfraser.com

Image rights: courtesy of the artist and honor fraser gallery, los angeles

About KAWS

“KAWS” is a graffiti artist, illustrator, painter, sculptor, product designer, and toymaker. His cartoonish style—including his best-known characters with X-ed out eyes—has its roots in his early career as a street artist, when he began replacing advertisements with his own, masterful acrylic paintings in the early 1990s. Since, KAWS has embraced the commercialist spirit of Claes Oldenburg and Takashi Murakami, designing everything from Kanye West album covers to Nike sneakers. Avoiding the distinction between products and art objects, KAWS has shown his work increasingly in galleries and museums over the past decade; some of his most famous images are reimagined versions of pop characters like Mickey Mouse and the Michelin Man.

American, b. 1974, Jersey City, New Jersey, based in Brooklyn, New York