SVA alumnus Brian Donnelly (BFA 1996 Illustration), widely known in the street art world and beyond as KAWS, not only creates highly accessible work that subverts pop culture icons like Mickey Mouse and The Simpsons, his style also somehow fits in well in fine art galleries and museums alike. His pieces are also becoming so sought after that one of them—a poster estimated at a value of $100,000—was recently stolen.
Artinfo caught up with the illustrator, graffiti artist, toymaker, painter and sculptor before the opening of his latest gallery show, “Hold the Line.” Below are three out of the 26 questions and answers from that interview.
(Artinfo) You and Takashi Murakami mine similar pop-culture terrain in your work, with Murakami focusing on the anime family while you take inspiration from Western cartoons. What do you think of his work?
(KAWS) Takashi Murakami has been very supportive of my work. I appreciate him and the work he makes. He has played a great role in connecting the rest of the world to Japanese culture and the art being made there.
What’s the last show that you saw?
“Circle of Friends” at George Adams Gallery in N.Y. It was a group show based around Robert Arneson and the friends he kept such as Peter Saul, Joan Brown, Roy DeForest and others. I saw this show before it opened and had to see it again before it closed.
What’s the last show that surprised you? Why?
“Pretty on The Inside” at Paul Kasmin. I organized this show with my friend Erik Parker. We decided to do it as a way to gather a few of the artists we love and put them in the same space. We were surprised at how easy it came together.
To read the full interview, visit Artinfo.