Art Basel Miami: KAWS

Directors Jauretsi and Crystal Moselle Ask Artists at the 2010 Art Fair About Life

A graffiti kid who started out climbing New York's billboards in the middle of the night, Brian Donnelly, a.k.a. KAWS, now garners comparisons to Takashi Murakami and Keith Haring, and his collectors include Lance Armstrong and Pharrell Williams. The artist's often candy-colored paintings and sculptures wink at pop culture, appropriating characters such as The Simpsons, The Smurfs, the Michelin Man and SpongeBob into a fantastical, offbeat world. Original Fake, the company founded by KAWS in the 90s and based out of Tokyo’s Aoyama district, releases his vinyl toys and clothing line, securing an avid fan base in Asia; recently a 16-foot sculpture featuring a pirate skull on the body of Mickey Mouse was erected in Hong Kong's Harbour City. The new career-spanning monograph KAWSwhich he will be signing in the OHWOW bookstore at Miami's Standard Hotel on Friday December 3—brings the elements of his one-man empire together: "Seeing the book has given me perspective on everything I've done until now," he says. "I can now mentally move on to the next thing.” Directors Jauretsi and Crystal Moselle caught up with the 35-year-old in his Brooklyn studio as he was shipping paintings to Miami's Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin for this year’s Art Basel Miami 2010. His current shows at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, and the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut, run through December 23 and January 2, 2011, respectively. 

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