Unlocking the secrets of KAWSONE: A comprehensive guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Who is KAWSONE?
  2. Spotlight on KAWSONE artwork
  3. How to identify authentic KAWSONE art
  4. KAWSONE exhibitions around the world
  5. KAWSONE collaborations and projects
  6. How to collect KAWSONE art
  7. KAWSONE in the marketplace
  8. KAWSONE impact on pop culture

If you’ve ever stumbled upon a unique blend of pop art and street style that simply captured your attention, chances are you've encountered the world of KAWSONE. In this guide, we'll peel back the layers of mystery surrounding KAWSONE, and unlock its secrets one by one. From the man behind the art to the global impact of his work, get ready for a deep dive into all things KAWSONE.


At the heart of our journey sits KAWSONE—a pseudonym that might not ring a bell until we unveil the artist behind it. The name KAWSONE belongs to none other than Brian Donnelly, an American artist and designer who has left an indelible mark on the art scene.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1974, Brian Donnelly started his career as a graffiti artist. Back then, he was more familiar with the spray cans of the streets than the brushes of an art studio. His graffiti signature? KAWS, a name that would eventually evolve into the KAWSONE we know today.

Donnelly’s work soon caught the eye of the art world, and he swapped the concrete canvases of the city for the renowned galleries of Tokyo, London, and New York. His style—a unique fusion of street art and pop culture—put him on the map and made KAWSONE a household name in the art industry.

Today, KAWSONE is more than just an artist's pseudonym. It's a brand, a movement, and an emblem of contemporary art that has inspired countless others around the globe. Whether you are an avid art collector, a fan of pop culture, or simply curious about KAWSONE, understanding the man behind the name is the first step in appreciating the profound impact of his work.

Spotlight on KAWSONE Artwork

What makes KAWSONE's artwork so compelling? It's the unique blend of familiar and new, of pop culture and street art, all spun together in a way that stops you in your tracks. Let's shine a spotlight on some key elements that make KAWSONE's art so distinctly his own.

First, there's the use of bold, vibrant colors. KAWSONE's artworks are rarely shy about making a statement. From neon pinks to electric blues, the colors pop off the canvas and draw the eye in.

Then there's the reimagining of familiar characters. KAWSONE takes characters we all know and love from pop culture—think Mickey Mouse or The Smurfs—and gives them a unique twist. Their eyes are often crossed out with X's, a signature style of KAWSONE that makes his work instantly recognizable.

Finally, there's the influence of street art. KAWSONE never strays too far from his roots as a graffiti artist. His work often features bold lines, spray paint effects, and other elements that harken back to his days on the streets of New Jersey.

In the end, KAWSONE's artwork is a reflection of his journey as an artist—from the streets to the galleries, from graffiti to pop art. It's a journey that's as vibrant, unique, and compelling as the artwork itself.

How to Identify Authentic KAWSONE Art

So, you've come across a piece of art that you believe is a KAWSONE. Exciting, right? But, how can you be sure it's the real deal? Here are a few tips to help you identify authentic KAWSONE art.

Firstly, keep an eye out for the signature KAWSONE style. As we've mentioned, KAWSONE often uses X's instead of eyes on his characters. If your piece of art has this distinct feature, you might be onto something.

Next, consider the color palette. KAWSONE tends to use bold, bright colors in his work. If you have a piece that's predominantly pastel or earth tones, it might not be a genuine KAWSONE.

Finally, check for the artist's signature. KAWSONE typically signs his work in the lower right corner. If you can't find a signature, or if it doesn't match other KAWSONE signatures you can find online, be wary.

Remember, KAWSONE's art is highly sought after and unfortunately, that means there are imitations out there. So, always do your homework before buying. After all, an informed art collector is a smart art collector.

KAWSONE Exhibitions Around the World

Now, let's embark on an artful journey around the globe, exploring some of the most notable KAWSONE exhibitions. These shows have not only brought KAWSONE’s distinctive art to the masses, but they've also cemented his status as a global phenomenon.

One of the biggest exhibitions was "KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS" at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. This show was a retrospective of KAWSONE’s colorful career and included paintings, sculptures, and even some of his graphic design work. It was a vibrant and immersive experience that truly showcased the breadth of KAWSONE’s creativity.

Another significant exhibition was "KAWS: ALONG THE WAY" in Hong Kong. This exhibition presented a 18-foot tall wooden sculpture of KAWSONE's popular COMPANION character, which was a sight to behold.

Not to be missed is the "KAWS: HOLIDAY" series, where gigantic inflatable versions of KAWSONE's characters were displayed in various locations around the world— from Seoul's Seokchon Lake to Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. These larger-than-life installations captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike.

These exhibitions have played a key role in spreading KAWSONE's art across the globe. So, if you ever get a chance to visit a KAWSONE exhibition, don't pass it up! You're in for a visual treat.

KAWSONE Collaborations and Projects

From streetwear to iconic brands, KAWSONE has a knack for blending art and commercial products. His collaborations have turned everyday items into a canvas for his unique designs.

One of KAWSONE's most popular collaborations was with the streetwear brand Supreme. This partnership resulted in a collection that featured KAWSONE's iconic "XX" logo on hoodies, skateboards, and t-shirts. The blend of street art and fashion was a hit, and the collection sold out almost instantly.

But KAWSONE's collaborations aren't just limited to clothing. He's also worked with global brands to create unique products. For instance, KAWSONE teamed up with Nike to reimagine the Air Jordan 4. The sneaker featured KAWSONE's signature touches, including the "XX" logo and a glow-in-the-dark sole.

And who could forget KAWSONE's collaboration with Sesame Street and Uniqlo? This playful collection brought KAWSONE's stylized versions of beloved characters like Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster to t-shirts for both kids and adults.

KAWSONE has even dipped his toes into the world of music. He designed the album cover for Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak," turning it into a piece of art in its own right.

These collaborations and projects showcase KAWSONE's ability to bring his distinct artistic style to a diverse range of mediums. They also underscore his influence in the worlds of art, fashion, and pop culture.

How to Collect KAWSONE Art

Collecting art can be a rewarding hobby, and collecting KAWSONE art is no exception. From his vinyl figures to his paintings, every piece is a testament to his unique artistic style. But how do you get started with collecting KAWSONE art? Here's a handy guide to help you out.

Understanding the Art: Before you start collecting, it's important to understand KAWSONE's art. From his Companion series to his Chum figures, each piece has a distinct style and meaning. So, do some research, learn about the artist, and find out which pieces resonate with you.

Start Small: You don't have to break the bank to start your KAWSONE collection. KAWSONE has released a range of affordable vinyl figures that are a great starting point. These figures, often released in limited editions, can be a great way to start your collection.

Buy from Reputable Sources: With the popularity of KAWSONE's art, it's no surprise that there are fakes out there. To ensure you're getting the real deal, buy from reputable sources. The KAWSONE website is a good place to start, and there are also trusted art dealers who specialize in KAWSONE's work.

Attend Exhibitions: KAWSONE's exhibitions are not just a chance to see his work in person — they're also a great opportunity to purchase his art. Keep an eye out for announcements about new exhibitions, and if you can, be there on opening day.

Patience is Key: Collecting KAWSONE art is not about instant gratification. It's about the joy of discovering a piece that speaks to you, the thrill of tracking it down, and the satisfaction of adding it to your collection. So take your time, enjoy the process, and before you know it, you'll have a collection that truly reflects your appreciation for KAWSONE's art.

KAWSONE in the Marketplace

When it comes to the art market, KAWSONE has carved out a niche that's as unique as his creations. His works have been embraced by art lovers around the globe, and his distinctive style has made him a sought-after name in the marketplace.

Art Market Success: KAWSONE's work has been making waves in the art market for years. His pieces regularly fetch high prices at auctions, a testament to their value and the demand among collectors. For instance, his artwork titled "THE KAWS ALBUM" sold for a record-breaking $14.8 million in 2019.

Accessible Art: Despite his success in the high-end art market, KAWSONE has remained committed to making his art accessible. He regularly releases vinyl figures and other collectibles at more affordable price points, allowing fans of all budgets to own a piece of KAWSONE art.

Collaborations: KAWSONE's collaborations with brands like Uniqlo and Dior have further broadened his reach in the marketplace. These partnerships have resulted in unique products that blend KAWSONE's art with everyday items, making his work even more accessible to the public.

Enduring Demand: The demand for KAWSONE's work shows no signs of slowing down. As more people discover his art and as he continues to innovate, the market for KAWSONE art is likely to remain strong. Whether you're a collector or just an admirer, KAWSONE's impact on the art market is undeniable.

KAWSONE Impact on Pop Culture

Pop culture and KAWSONE are two elements that have intertwined seamlessly. His unique style has not only influenced artists, but has also left an indelible mark on the pop culture landscape.

The Street Art Revolution: KAWSONE was among the pioneers who took street art from the city walls to the galleries and beyond. His work helped to redefine perceptions of street art, showing it as a credible and expressive form of art that deserved recognition.

Art and Fashion Fusion: KAWSONE's collaborations with fashion brands like Uniqlo and Dior have led to the creation of unique clothing lines that blend art with fashion. These collaborations have brought his art directly into the mainstream, reaching a wide audience and influencing trends in the fashion world.

Music Industry Influence: KAWSONE also made waves in the music industry, creating album covers for artists like Kanye West. His distinctive style brought a fresh visual element to the music scene, further integrating his art into pop culture.

Toy Design: KAWSONE’s influence extends to the world of toys as well. His Companion figures, easily recognizable with their crossed-out eyes, have become a pop culture phenomenon, appealing to both art collectors and toy enthusiasts alike.

Through his art and collaborations, KAWSONE has become a pop culture icon. His work continues to inspire and influence, demonstrating the power of art to transcend boundaries and touch lives.

If you enjoyed learning about KAWSONE and want to find more inspiration for your own creative journey, we recommend checking out the workshop 'Staying Inspired As A Freelance Illustrator' by Kissi Ussuki. This workshop will help you stay motivated and inspired as you navigate the world of freelance illustration, providing valuable tips and insights to keep your creative spark alive.