Artists I love: KAWS

Do most sneakerheads who love KAWS actually know his name? Its Brian Donnelly. He is a graffiti artist and has done sneaker collabs before the Jordan one from this year.

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These Air Max 90s are a great example of what I like – really simple but such a cool way to integrate the KAWS aesthetic into an Air Max. Its all there: monochrome, the XXs the brighness of the green. Image from Hypebeast.com

It seems like all the artists I love are part of Generation X. I remember reading about them in zines (Maybe? It might have been on early message boards) when they were graffiti artists (Futura, Fairey and KAWS all fit that mold). Now they have all become semi-legitimate in ways I don’t think I would have predicted in the late 90s.

When I see KAWS’ art or collabs, or companions or Uniqlo t-shirts, I see more than just the two XXs from a hype artist. It feels both nostalgic and totally current for me, like I have a little bit of cultural whiplash.

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Brian Donnelly. Photo from HypeGuide.com

It’s so hard to say why I love what KAWS does. For me, it is like he has always been part of my cultural fabric in some way. Both influenced by and influencing the people I am influenced by.

Maybe it isn’t that profound. Maybe I just like the weird/cute companion. Maybe a little of both.

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The affordable kind of KAWS collection. From Uniqlo

I have a whole lot of Uniqlo x KAWS t-shirts. Both the previous collab and the recent Peanuts one.  I also grabbed a KAWS companion from MoMA and had to hold myself back from grabbing the entire set. It’s funny because I actively avoided getting into collectible toys when that started heating up. I *knew* that if I started paying attention to them (Companions and Be@rbricks and Kubricks and KidRobot) I would end up spending all my money. Probably the reason I have a condo now and not a shack made of collectibles and sneakers built in my mum’s backyard.

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Companion and the Peanuts gang

KAWS stuff is just really expensive. I think that artists should be able to make money from their work and I am happy when people I like and admire do well. I just need to save that money for more sneakers. Good thing that the very reasonably priced collaborations exist so that I (and others) can access the artist.

What do I wish I had from KAWS?

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The ones that got away (20 times). Photo from Kicksonfire.com

Should I just post this picture a hundred times? I entered every single raffle (online, in person, Instagram), I have entered pay to play raffles, I have obsessively stalked the Jordan store for restocks. I even thought I almost managed to purchase from KAWSOne.com but was thwarted by my Canadian billing address (KAWSOne ships internationally for everything EXCEPT these). Every loss just breaks my heart a little bit more.

For right now it looks like these are going to stay out of reach. Resale prices were dropping but I am not going to start paying $1K plus for sneakers (once I start that, where will I draw the line?). I just hope people who have them genuinely enjoy them, and wear them like I would.

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