He has primarily looked to and appropriated from pop-culture animations (including The Smurfs, The Simpsons, SpongeBob, Hanna-Barbera, and Peanuts) to form his artistic vocabulary for his paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Now well known for his larger-than-life sculptures and hard-edge paintings that emphasize line and color, KAWS's cast of hybrid cartoon/human characters, with similarities to popular cartoon figures and logos like Mickey Mouse and the Michelin Man, are perhaps the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity.These figures have amicable names-Chum, Companion, Accomplice-and express and provoke an array of human emotions, from sad, overwhelmed, pathetic, and weary, to shy. They reflect feelings and situations we can empathize with in presentations that are balanced with humor, heartening in their cartoon aesthetic. Major support for KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS is generously provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts, with additional support provided by the Kleinheinz Family Endowment for the Arts and Education and from the Fort Worth Promotion and Development Fund. This comprehensive publication tracks KAWS's work from his early graffiti years to his fashion and design collaborations and monumental paintings and sculptural works. With contributions from Andrea Karnes, Michael Auping, Dieter Buchhart, and Pharrell Williams, this hardcover edition has more than 150 color reproductions. The exhibition KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS will be on view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth from October 20, 2016-January 22, 2017. The book features installation shots of KAWS's work in the Modern's galleries.
Installation view of KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS.