Artist Spotlight: KAWS

Artist Spotlight: KAWS

New York Loan Company, based in Manhattan, makes collateral loans against modern and contemporary artwork.  This upscale pawnshop both purchases and lends against artists like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Jean-Michael Basquiat. New York Loan also works with up-and-coming artists that may not yet be household names, but have established themselves as successful and talented people in the art community. This list includes Takashi Murakami, Shepard Fairey, Jeff Koons, Os Gemeos and of course, KAWS.

KAWS, born Brian Donnelly, is a New York based artist that is known for his graffiti, paintings, sculptures, and graphic design. New York Loan Company, a luxury collateral lender, closely follows this artist due to his strong secondary market and his unique collaborations with celebrities and companies like VANS, Nike, Hennessy, and Kiehl’s.

The artist grew up in Jersey City where he got his start with graffiti, he then experimented with his street-art in New York City, where the New York Loan offices are located. KAWS started his own form of street-art that involved removing the panels that covered advertisements and added his own graphics and art on those advertisements. Many times viewers were not able to differentiate the original ad from the transformed ad due to KAWS skill with a paintbrush.  

In the 90’s the young artist started developing his own style. He graduated from New York’s School of Visual Arts and traveled to Japan where he practiced his street art style and created his first toy – a vinyl figure of Mickey Mouse with his eyes crossed-out. In 1998 he won the Pernod Liquid Art Award that presents a grant to upcoming artists. This was only the beginning for KAWS who had embraced the commercialist trend following Warhol, Rauschenberg, & Jasper Johns.

KAWS has only become more popular with his collaborations with Pharrell Williams, MTV and DC Shoes. The artist also created a special edition album cover for Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak. In the past few years the large and influential auction houses like Sotheby’s, Christie’s & Phillips have had large successes selling KAWS’ artwork for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To inquire about a fine art loan with New York Loan Company, which also makes pawn loans on jewelry, diamonds, watches, and one-of-a-kind memorabilia, please contact their offices at 212-997-5626 or email art@newyorkloan.com.