KAWS works garnered nearly $34 million at auction last year, according to Christie’s. He is now represented by the upscale Skarstedt Gallery in New York, where his works are displayed alongside those of Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and other classical greats.
Before Brian Donnelly became a success using his KAWS tag, he earned his BA in illustration at the School of Visual Arts, he worked as an animation background painter on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and other films.
KAWS use of familiar cartoon images, combined with his unique ability to make the images seem shy and helpless, gives his works a universal appeal.
KAWS in Qatar
This year, KAWS had solo exhibits in the U.S., Taiwan, Japan, Australia, London and Hong Kong. Bad weather led to KAWS beloved 121-foot-long inflatable Companion having to leave Hong Kong Harbor a few days early, during Art Basel Hong Kong.
Companion is now at the Doha Dhow Harbor in Qatar. It is part of KAWS first solo exhibition in the Middle East. His paintings, graphics, sculptures and toys are housed in the Fire Station Gallery near the harbor.
Sheikha Reem al-Thani, Director of Exhibitions at Qatar museums, said, “If the public reception of the recent installation of KAWS’s Small Lie (2018) at Doha’s Hamad International Airport is any indication, the artist’s larger than life sculptures, which evoke questions of humanity and hope, will unquestionably resonate with the people of Qatar.”
KAWS: He Eats Alone will be on display in Qatar through January 2020.
A 4-foot Companion sculpture is for sale at VFA.
KAWS Studio Expansion
Brian Donnelly was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. He worked for Disney’s New York-based Jumbo Pictures as an animator during the day and did his graffiti art at night.
After his KAWS tag became a recognizable icon, he set up a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which he is currently expanding with the purchase of the 10,000-square-foot building next to his North 9th Street studio, for a $17 million price tag.
An exhibit of KAWS work is planned for 2021 at the Brooklyn Museum.
KAWS at Auction
Three of KAWS’ works were included in this month’s Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Sale in New York. His painting of SpongeBob SquarePants, titled GRRR! sold for $2.18 million, a wood sculpture called Final Days went for $1.46 million and an Untitled 2014 shaped canvas painting sold for $1.52 million.
KAWS at VFA
The global appeal of KAWS works is related to his ability to create images that are recognizable and full of a universally understood emotional impact.
Works like You Should Know I Know, Blame Game and Paper Smile, for sale at VFA, evoke the feelings that KAWS is so gifted at capturing in his art.
Please contact us if you would like more information about Companion or any of the other fine works available at VFA.
Designboom. KAWS debuts inflatable sculpture on doha’s dhow harbor overlooking the city skyline. November 14, 2019.
Claire Selvin. KAWS Mania, Buying Frenzy Over Julie Curtiss Painting Punctuate $108.1 M. Phillips 20th-Century and Contemporary Sale with ‘Measured’ Bidding. ArtNews. November 14, 2019.
Richard Bockmann. Acclaimed artist KAWS pays $17M to expand Williamsburg studio. TheRealDeal. November 18, 2019.