Brian Donnelly, born in 1974, professionally known as KAWS, is a New York-based artist and designer of limited edition toys and clothing. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration in 1996. After graduation, KAWS briefly worked for Disney as a freelance animator painting backgrounds, and contributed to animated series’ such as 101 Dalmatians. He began his career as a graffiti artist as he grew up in New Jersey. As he moved to New York City in the 90s, KAWS started subverting imagery on billboards, bus shelters and phone booth advertisements. These reworked advertisements were at first left alone, lasting for several months, but as KAWS’ popularity skyrocketed, the ads became increasingly sought after. In addition to New York, KAWS has done work in Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo.

In the late 90s, KAWS began to design and produce limited edition vinyl toys, which were an instant hit with the global art toy-collecting community, especially in Japan, where this genre is well respected and widespread. KAWS has participated in commercial collaborations with Nigo for A Bathing Ape, Original Fake, sneakers with Nike and Vans & many more.

Below are a few of my favourite toys, images and designs by KAWS:


Posters KAWS did with the streetwear brand Supreme featuring Kermit the Frog, photographed by Terry Richardson. This was made into a toy by Supreme, aswell as being an advertising range for Supreme’s basic box logo tee.


This was a piece KAWS did for the Stussy (another streetwear, graffiti brand) store in LA. As you can see, the design goes over doors and door frames, and leaves the handles clear. I really do love this design, and I do have a better picture that my friend had took, but neither of us could find the High Res file.


This is the Original (Original Fake) toy KAWS designed. this model/design was the first toy produces, and has been adapted into new colour ways, developed shapes and style, and then onto new toys for other brands and collaborations.

KAWS toys all look very good photographed – and this is how I know of KAWS’ work, as I’ve never seen one of his toys in person. I really like how KAWS has created and adapted his style – you can easily notice a piece of work by KAWS compared to many other artists. The range of work he has produced he made him very well known, working with brands such as Bathing Ape and Musicians such as Kanye West – which are both very well publicised. KAWS has created his very well known style, and this is something which I am to so within my graphic design and illustration.