KAWS, b.1974, Jersey City, NJ, USA


KAWS, Companion (OriginalFake), 2011


The popular appeal of KAWS' larger–than-life art speaks to the 21st-century reality that barriers between low and high art have ceased to exist. From its humble beginnings as graffiti over advertisements on the streets of New York, the KAWS signature skull motif has now featured in exhibitions across the globe. Using bright colour palettes and child friendly contours, KAWS appropriates the universal language of cartoons and applies his aesthetic to clothing, limited edition toys and unique works of art. His most prevalent creation is Companion, a greyscale reimagining of Mickey Mouse infused with melancholy. Whether lamenting silently on the streets of Tokyo or being dissected for gallery display, Companion comes to signify a lost innocence that betrays its idealistic Disneyland ancestry.