The greatest artists are thieves. Stolen creative activity, adjusted, tweaked then repurposed with a whole new context and meaning. This is the concept that drew me to become fascinated by the work of Kaws. The story starts somewhere in the 90s, acquiring a key from fellow artist Barry Mcgee to New York billboards on bus stops and phone booths . Kaws would remove advertising materials from big brands such as Calvin Klein, take them back to his studio and subvert the branding with his own take, adding his now esteemed characters and styling. Once completed he would redistribute the posters inside the billboard cases, to any passer-by it would seem as if they were part of the advertising campaign.
I probably discovered Kaws through the late 2000s explosion of streetwear in which his work was a mainstay with brands like Bape and his own now defunct brand Original Fake - I would see pieces with teeth zippers and companion characters as a kid in London's Hideout, but with no cash I was just a mere browser.
From guerilla beginnings, Kaws has risen to become one of the most well know artists of this generation with massive projects with people like Uniqlo and recently Dior.