Exploring the World of KAWS Figures

Enthusiasts from all walks of life, whether collectors, art aficionados, or devotees of pop culture, are likely familiar with the name KAWS and the fervor surrounding KAWS. 

His distinct artistry has made an indelible mark on the global stage, resonating deeply across various circles, especially among enthusiasts of vinyl figures and KAWS action figures. 

Let’s embark on a journey into the realm of KAWS, unraveling the captivating elements that render them so compelling, including how aficionados scout the market to get the best deals at the lowest prices on figures and posters and delve into the intriguing spin-off project: Seventh Age.

Who is KAWS

To truly comprehend the allure of KAWS, it’s imperative to grasp the creative genius behind them—Brian Donnelly, known by his artistic alias, KAWS.

Background and Early Life

Brian Donnelly, born in 1974, originates from Jersey City, New Jersey. 

His journey into the realm of art commenced during his early years, prompting him to delve into illustration studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

Transitioning from his roots as a graffiti artist in the late 1990s, Donnelly embarked on a transformative path that eventually led to the emergence of his renowned alter ego, KAWS. 

In 1999, KAWS ventured to Japan after an invitation from Bounty Hunter, a revered toy and streetwear brand, setting the stage for the fusion of street art with model art toys. 

It was during this time that he crafted his inaugural toy creation, ‘COMPANION’, marking a pivotal moment in his artistic evolution.

Artistic Style

KAWS’s distinctive style amalgamates elements from pop art, street art, and cultural references, often materializing into highly coveted KAWS products and vinyl figures.

Renowned for his bold palette, reinterpretation of iconic cartoon characters, and the trademark ‘X’ motif adorning his creations, his artistic imprint is instantly recognizable through various mediums including KAWS posters and KAWS wall art.

Image Courtesy: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Transition to KAWS Figures

While KAWS initially gained prominence through graffiti, he expanded his artistic horizons to encompass sculptures and toys, birthing the first KAWS figure, which has since evolved into various forms including sought-after keyrings and pendants.

This endeavor aimed to democratize art, a mission that unequivocally succeeded. 

These figures, often inspired by pop culture icons, have captivated audiences worldwide, cementing KAWS’s status as a household name in the realm of art toys and collectibles.

Global Recognition

From the bustling streets of New York to the vibrant landscapes of Tokyo, KAWS has left an indelible imprint on the international art scene.

His works grace prestigious galleries and museums worldwide, while collaborations with renowned brands such as Uniqlo and Nike, and the release of items like the KAWS Companion, have further propelled his acclaim.

Yet, perhaps nothing encapsulates the essence of KAWS quite like his figures, which serve as emblematic milestones in his artistic odyssey, and have been sought after by collectors aiming to get the best deals at the lowest prices on eBay.


Seventh Age

Unveiled via Twitter in late 2023, Seventh Age introduced a surprise collectible named Sage—crafted using materials akin to those employed by KAWS and in collaboration with esteemed artists within similar spheres.

Speculations abound regarding the parallels with KAWS’s work and the enigmatic aura surrounding the Seventh Age brand, hinting at a new venture by KAWS himself, possibly expanding into new lines of KAWS action figures or ornaments.

Seventh Age has disclosed operating on a monthly drop cycle, with new offerings launched every Seventh of the month. 

Stay tuned for updates as this narrative unfolds, potentially unveiling new opportunities to get the best deals at the lowest prices on upcoming KAWS releases.


What Are KAWS Figures?

Having acquainted ourselves with the maestro behind the scenes, let’s now explore the enigmatic allure of KAWS that has garnered a fervent following, with enthusiasts often vying to secure the best deals at the lowest prices for limited edition pieces.

Nature of the Art

KAWS epitomize designer toys or art toys, transcending conventional action figures or collectibles, and often include popular characters like Bendy and Snoopy. 

These miniature sculptures are meticulously crafted, reflecting KAWS’s singular aesthetic that merges pop art, street art, and toy culture into a distinct artistic expression.

Image Courtesy: acuteart
Image Courtesy: myartbroker

Design and Features

Distinctive features characterize KAWS—the X-ed out eyes, exaggerated limbs, and reimagined renditions of beloved characters—all hallmarks of KAWS’s signature style. 

While designs vary, they collectively embody KAWS’s artistic ethos.

Vinyl Material and Size 

Crafted predominantly from vinyl, KAWS sculptures boast impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail, making them sought-after ornaments in the world of art collectors. 

Available in a spectrum of sizes, from palm-sized to monumental installations, their versatility appeals to a diverse array of collectors and art enthusiasts.

Image Courtesy: hypebeast

The Message

Embedded within each KAWS lies a narrative—a commentary on society, popular culture, consumerism, and the human condition. 

Beyond mere toys, these figures serve as conduits for KAWS’s artistic discourse, inviting viewers to engage with profound themes through the lens of his distinctive artistry.


Variety and Collections

KAWS encompasses a wide array of collections and products that extend beyond traditional vinyl figures, offering enthusiasts a diverse range of options to explore, including the sought-after Medicom collaboration. 

From the iconic Companion to the whimsical Chum, each KAWS figurine collection exudes its unique charm and narrative, enriching these seemingly simple figures with layers of depth and intrigue. 

Additionally, KAWS offers a playful range of home decor items, such as art figurines that add a touch of whimsy to any space.

These 3D cartoon-like characters, conceptualised by American graffiti artist and designer Brian Donnelly, have garnered significant attention, particularly the coveted Bearbrick series. 

Among the notable collections are the vibrant What Party figures, available in an array of hues, and The Promise collection, launched during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which carries cultural significance. 

Additionally, KAWS enthusiasts can explore cuddly Holiday plushes featuring the signature X logo eyes, emblematic of the brand’s collectibles. 

Whether drawn to the minimalist aesthetic of the What Party series or the cultural resonance of The Promise collection, KAWS offers a diverse range of products to cater to various tastes and style preferences.

Why is KAWS Art Popular?

Now that we’ve unraveled the essence of KAWS, let’s dissect the factors underpinning their universal appeal, including the hypebeast KAWS phenomenon and the allure of KAWS dolls, considered essential modern art by many.

Cross-Cultural Allure

KAWS resonate universally, transcending cultural boundaries with their fusion of pop and street art aesthetics. 

Whether in bustling metropolises or serene locales, they communicate a language that transcends geographical confines. 

Image Courtesy: hypebeast

Pop Culture Nexus

Drawing inspiration from iconic pop culture references, KAWS evoke a sense of nostalgia and familiarity, endearing themselves to a broad audience. 

The reinterpretation of beloved characters infuses these vinyl toys / figures with a timeless charm that resonates across generations.  

Some of these characters include the collectible model toy Mickey Mouse. 

Hypebeast KAWS

“Hypebeast KAWS” refers to collaborations between KAWS and the streetwear and fashion culture platform, Hypebeast. 

These collaborations typically involve the release of limited-edition clothing, accessories, or other merchandise featuring KAWS’s distinctive artwork or characters. 

Hypebeast, known for its influence in streetwear and sneaker culture, often partners with artists and brands to create highly sought-after and exclusive products that appeal to enthusiasts of urban fashion and contemporary art. 

The term “Hypebeast KAWS” may also be used more broadly to refer to any KAWS-related products or collaborations that generate significant excitement and demand within the streetwear and fashion community.

Collectible Allure & Investment Potential

Owning a KAWS art figure confers a sense of exclusivity and prestige, elevating it to the status of modern art within your collection. 

With limited editions, intricate designs, and compelling narratives, these figures enthrall collectors worldwide, elevating them beyond mere commodities to coveted artifacts.

Beyond their artistic merit, KAWS is perceived as a valuable investment, their burgeoning demand propelling their market value, with some enthusiasts enjoying the benefit of free delivery when adding to their collections. 

Many acquire these figures not only for aesthetic gratification but also as astute investments poised for appreciation.

Since 2008, KAWS’s auction results have been remarkable, with the record price for one of his pieces reaching an impressive $14,773,468 for THE KAWS ALBUM, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2019. 

Such high auction prices reflect the increasing demand and value attributed to KAWS’s artwork in the global art market.

Image Courtesy: theguardian
Image Courtesy: ArtGalleryofOntario

Also in  2019, a monumental 121-foot-long inflatable rendition of KAWS’s iconic COMPANION graced Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour during Art Basel. 

Tethered by a substantial 40-ton weight, this colossal installation, known as KAWS: HOLIDAY, captivated audiences and underscored the artist’s soaring prominence on the global stage. 

Prior iterations of the artwork had been showcased in Seoul and Taipei, marking significant milestones in KAWS’s journey to fame in recent years, demonstrating the global footprint of KAWS model art toys.

Despite achieving success in the 2000s, KAWS experienced a remarkable surge in market demand in subsequent years. 

According to the 2019 Artnet Intelligence Report, his average sale price nearly doubled in 2017, soaring from $42,272 to $82,063. 

The momentum continued to build, with November 2018 witnessing the sale of five KAWS pieces fetching over $1 million each. 

Throughout the year, his artwork amassed a staggering total of over $33.8 million at auction, solidifying KAWS’s position as a powerhouse in the contemporary art market.

Moreover, KAWS’ influence extends beyond auction sales, as evidenced by his frequent appearances in notable art publications such as ArtDaily, Hyperallergic, and FAD Magazine, and his ventures into creating Bearbrick and KAWS action figures. 

These articles often delve into various aspects of KAWS’s artistic practice, providing insight into his creative process, exhibitions, and impact on contemporary art.

The most recent article, “A Guide to All the February Art Fairs,” written for Observer in January 2024, further highlights KAWS’s prominence in the art world. 

Being featured in such publications not only enhances KAWS’s visibility but also solidifies his status as a leading figure in contemporary art.

Overall, the combination of record-breaking auction results and extensive media coverage underscores KAWS’s enduring influence and appeal in the art world, cementing his position as one of the most celebrated artists of the 21st century.

Image Courtesy: redhouse orginials

KAWS & Bansky

Influence of Banksy and KAWS on Contemporary Art

Banksy and KAWS emerge as pivotal figures in discussions surrounding potential populist insurgencies within contemporary art. 

Despite their origins on the fringes of the art world, both artists have ascended to prominence and commercial success, challenging traditional notions of artistic legitimacy and value. 

Their ability to infiltrate and establish themselves within the blue-blood art market underscores their significant influence on the evolving landscape of contemporary art. 

While Banksy and KAWS are often portrayed as the tip of the spear in conversations about populist movements in art, it is essential to recognize the distinctiveness of their career trajectories and artistic endeavors.

Divergent Paths and Artistic Philosophies

What often gets overlooked in discussions about Banksy and KAWS is the divergence in their career paths and the types of careers they have forged. 

Despite their shared street-art origins and populist appeal, Banksy and KAWS have pursued very different trajectories in leveraging their art-world clout. 

While both artists command attention in sales by major auction houses and maintain direct-to-consumer sales operations, their approaches to engaging with audiences and the art market vary significantly. 

Banksy’s politically charged and often subversive works stand in contrast to KAWS’s playful reinterpretations of pop culture icons, each with their unique philosophical underpinnings and priorities, yet both find common ground in their appeal to collectors searching for unique pieces, like resin figures or keyrings, at competitive prices.

Image Courtesy: artnet news

Connecting with KAWS

Acquiring a KAWS art piece is akin to possessing a fragment of the artist’s soul—a tangible conduit for forging a deeper connection with KAWS and his artistic universe. 

It transcends mere ownership, encapsulating an immersive experience that resonates with enthusiasts on a profound level.

Displaying a KAWS figure can add a unique and artistic touch to various spaces in your home or office. 

They can even become a car accessory or something you have on a keychain. The selection of KAWS seems limitless (nearly).  

Home Decoration

Place your KAWS vinyl figure on a prominent shelf, coffee table, or side table in your living room, turning it into a centerpiece of your modern room decor. 

It can serve as a conversation starter and focal point for the room’s decor.

Desk Decoration

If you have a home office or workspace, consider displaying your KAWS figure on your desk, bookshelf, or floating shelves, adding a touch of companion art to your professional environment. 

It can provide inspiration and creativity while adding personality to your work environment.

Bedroom Decor

Display your KAWS figure on a bedside table, dresser, or floating shelf in your bedroom. 

It can add a touch of whimsy and personality to your private space while complementing the overall decor.

KAWS Wall Art & Wall Decor

Create an art gallery wall by hanging your KAWS poster or figure alongside other artwork, photographs, and prints, incorporating figure wall art into your decor. 

Mix and match different pieces, such as KAWS figures, A4 posters, or resin sculptures, to create a visually striking display that reflects your personal style and showcases your ability to get the best deals for these items.

Car decoration

If you’re a fan of KAWS and want to incorporate your passion for art into your daily life, consider placing on the the KAWS figure toys on the dashboard, centre console, or rearview mirror of your car. 

This unconventional display of KAWS as car ornaments, can transform your vehicle’s interior into a mobile art gallery, reflecting your personality and interests wherever you go.

Image Courtesy: etsy

How to Identify an Authentic KAWS

For aspiring collectors venturing into the realm of KAWS, discerning authenticity is paramount, especially when looking to buy KAWS pieces with confidence. Here are some guidelines to ascertain the genuineness of a KAWS’.

Scrutinize the Details

An authentic KAWS figure statue exhibits a discernible quality and finesse that set them apart. 

Examine the precision of the paintwork, the crispness of the lines, and the coherence of the design. 

Any deviations or inconsistencies may signify counterfeit replicas, a common concern for collectors of KAWS dolls and vinyl figures.

Inspect the Packaging

Genuine KAWS’ are packaged in boxes bearing the artist’s logo and the figure’s designation, exuding a polished, professional aesthetic. 

Beware of substandard packaging or typographical errors, indicative of counterfeit products.

Verify the Seller

Prioritise reputable sellers renowned for dealing in authentic KAWS merchandise. Whether purchasing from authorized retailers or esteemed platforms, conduct due diligence to ascertain the seller’s credibility and track record.

Consider the Price

Exercise caution when confronted with unusually low prices, as they often correlate with counterfeit goods. Authentic KAWS’ command a premium due to their scarcity and demand, so be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

In conclusion, approach the acquisition of KAWS’ with diligence and discernment, ensuring that your investment reflects the artist’s genuine craftsmanship and vision.

Where to Buy KAWS'

eBay, Auction Houses and Recommended Private Dealers 

Author: Cordelia Perez