No doubt Kaws is one of the hottest names in urban arts. This painter, designer and former graffiti artist might not yet be recognized as a major contemporary artist, but his popularity is increasing well beyond the world of urban artists.
Recently, the high-end US cosmetic brand Kiehl’s has reached to his talent to recreate their classic Creme de Corps labels. All proceeds will be going to RxART, a foundation working to fight AIDS.
Kaws extended his work portfolio through a collaboration with Kanye West on the artwork of “808’s and Heartbreak,” and he recently created the Complex magazine cover for the issue featuring Kid Cudi. He also works with established brands like Marc Jacobs and Nike for limited series and custom products.
According to the 34-year old New Jersey-born, he picked his artist name during the early years of his career as a graffiti artist, in order to remain anonymous. The name itself? It’s “just a combination of letters I like. And when your whole art is based on the lettering you choose, you kind of figure out which ones work together. I just liked the shapes of K, A, W, S. It has no meaning” he said.
Kaws starting getting attention for his work when people noticed his interpretations of iconic cartoon characters, from Mickey to Spongebob, to which he always adds his signature X for the eyes. He also contributed to the booming popularity of art toys, these sculptures often inspired by childhood universes and characters. Among Kaws’ fans is producer Pharrell Williams, who describes the artist as “the guy that made us pay attention to art.” The once anonymous painter is now in the spotlight for good!
Written by Roberte Varasse