KAWS is almost everywhere in my life. Bedroom, living room, table, office, car, iPhone-iPad-iPod-Mac. You might call him an obsession.
The first time I saw his vinyl toys was in 2000 at Colette in Paris, and this is when I caught the KAWS virus. Ever since, I have been on a mission to collect his dolls in all sizes, colors, and moods.
KAWS deconstructs our childhood icons to be more in tune with life’s realities. And he does it beautifully. His most famous creation is Companion, an artistically mutated Mickey Mouse. The artist replaced Mickey’s large baby eyes with two X‘s and his smile by a stooped head. The symbol of a society that has lost its illusion. Although harsh, strange, and cynical, his figures emanate innocence and joy.
Brian Donnelly, a.k.a. KAWS, is a modern-day Geppetto who creates characters that reflect our fears but also brighten our days. And like Geppetto, he is humble, discreet, and passionate about his work.
Last year I was lucky enough to meet him and discuss his sculptures, paintings, and toys. I could not hide that I was a fanatic collector. I think it was my eyes that turned into X‘s.
I was about to pass out on my birthday, not from the signs of wrinkles, but from a signed copy KAWS sent me of his book, Downtime. I will treasure it for many more wrinkles to come!
If you happen to be in NYC before December 21, do visit the Galerie Perrotin, where KAWS is showing Pass the Blame, an amazing exhibition of cartoonish characters, and the Mary Boone Gallery, to admire his 18-foot-tall wooden sculptures, which are just breathtaking.
For more information, visit http://www.kawsone.com/.
Photos: Courtesy of Mira Mikati