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Art August, 31 2012

PAPERMAG: The Cult of Kaws

As part of their ‘Cults Worth Following’ series, Paper Magazine weighs in on Kaws‘ cult following, a phenomenon we can’t help but help fuel. An excerpt follows:

In an age where cultural figures are supposed to be somewhat larger than life, and when bad boys (and girls) still get props for their antics, Brian Kaws is perhaps the most unlikely of art stars imaginable. Neither lacking in ambition or vision, Kaws remains uncannily modest and reserved in a way that borders on shy. But when asked about the bizarre discontinuity between the almost hermit-like workaholic and the renown by which just about anything he does sets social media a-twitter, Kaws is not just being coy when he says, “I know the work is getting out there beyond my studio and that I have a lot of opportunities at the moment, but I don’t really think about it a lot.” With Kaws, one has the sense that he eschews such matters mostly because they would be a distraction from what he really cares about, which of course is his work.

Putting aside all the obvious adjectives regarding his unique talent, skills and determination — Kaws suffers enough hype that his pals at PAPER hardly need to pile any more on — perhaps the best explanation for his cult-like status today has a lot more to do with timing. The popularity by which Brian Kaws’ art — the former graffiti artist is known for his subversive riffs on classic cartoon characters — is so widely received that it has come to represent an entire paradigmatic shift in our collective understanding of what art can be.

We’re not quite sure why they’re calling him Brian Kaws (his name is Brian Donnelly – professionally known as KAWS), but it’s a good piece. You can read the full story here.

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