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How KAWS Destroyed the Boundary Between Commercial and ArtA Pop Artist reconstructs the definition of “real art”
서지안 강남포스트 학생기자 | 승인 2021.09.28 20:53

In Tokyo, KAWS is presenting his first large-scale exhibition. “KAWS TOKYO FIRST" entertains museum visitors with a diverse selection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and interactive experiences using augmented reality (Augmented Reality).

Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS, grew raised in New Jersey and discovered his passion for graffiti art in elementary school. He worked as a freelance artist for Disney and painted the streets of New York with his unique characters as an adult.

Now, the influence of KAWS stretches worldwide. The artist has a history of collaborations with famous streetwear brands such as Bathing Ape and Supreme. It was also introduced at the Paris Fashion week in a mini-Dior suit. In addition, his collaboration with American rapper Kanye West helped the artist become more well known to the general audience.

Starting as a typical graffiti artist based in New York, how did KAWS become such a prominent figure in the pop art industry?

His works appear to be simply sketched pictures of well-known cartoon characters at first glance. His critics claim that his work is lacking in creativity and content. According to an article in the Arts Newspaper by journalist Andy Shaw, KAWS’ work is "sheer intellectual bankruptcy," and the works are not worth the fame. Is this, however, the case? The secret to KAWS' success is his ability to communicate with his audience through his artwork, which focuses on human emotions. “Loneliness” is one of his series' key themes. Many of KAWS's solo sculptures are shown as unhappy or embarrassed, but works with themes like "Family," "BFF," or "Chum" appear to express consolation and pathos. Everyone can connect to these feelings, which is what makes his work remarkable.
 

KAWS- Family, 2021

 

KAWS' art is much more than a collection of appropriated cartoon characters with X eyes. While some may claim that his artworks are overly concerned with commercial and monetary worth, this is one of the reasons why KAWS has gained widespread notice. “When you're a kid, you look at galleries as these zones that are like, ‘stay out' and ‘you're not welcome' or ‘you're priced out,” KAWS said in one of his interviews. You get to become acquainted [with the art] in a very personal way, in your own home, through the product.” KAWS' artworks blur the lines between art and commodities, making them far more accessible and approachable. After all, the purpose of art is to communicate with others.

 

 

 

 

서지안 강남포스트 학생기자  webmaster@ignnews.kr

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