The OriginalFake has a ‘huge’ showcase at Harbour City this month. Brian Donnellley, (KAWS), made his mark on the art world the hard way: through the streets. A product of New Jersey graffiti scene, his earlier work was largely transient, and almost always illegal. But where there’s talent, there’s often opportunity. And by the mid-Nineties the budding artist had made the leap from municipal pest to commercial success.
Since then, KAWS has worked on various collaborative projects with some of the world’s biggest fashion brands, from Marc Jacobs to Comme des Garcons, and even went on to start his own label, OriginalFake.
KAWS’s Hong Kong exhibition, which includes a larger-than-life sculpture of his iconic COMPANION character, runs from October 4-24 at Harbour City, with the main exhibit housed in front of Ocean Terminal, and other items on show at Gallery by the Harbour (shop 207). Limited-edition KAWS merchandise (see below) will also be available, while stocks last. There is also a guided tour of the exhibition which lasts around 45 minutes a session.
Butterboom caught up with him during the launch of his new sculpture exhibit at Ocean Terminal.
Butterboom: What was it that took you from art to fashion?
KAWS: It started when I went to Japan in the mid-Nineties. I was working with a company called Undercover, which then led to a project for Bathing Ape. Offers from fashion labels started coming in soon after.
Butterboom: What was are some of the challenges of working with fabrics relative to other mediums?
KAWS: It was never a huge challenge, largely because it happened over such a long period. Also, I grew up around that kind of stuff [garment manufacturing]. In fact, the only reason I started working in this field was because I could relate to it.
Butterboom: Is there a favourite project you’ve worked on?
KAWS: They were all pretty special in their own way.
Looking back though, I think the Bathing Ape stuff was quite iconic for me. I did several seasons with them, and even designed a whole line.
Butterboom: Fashion designers often look to art for inspiration. Have you seen this happen with your any of your work?
KAWS: Yeah, it does happen. Definitely.
Butterboom: Can you point to some examples?
KAWS: Try looking at the new Stella McCartney campaign.
Butterboom: What made you want to launch your own label?
KAWS: Through taking on a lot of fashion work, I started became more familiar with the industry. Doing my own label just seemed like a natural step.
Details of Guided Exhibition Tour:
- Date: 4 -10 October, 2010
- Time: 3pm, 3.30pm, 4 & 4.30pm
- Meeting place: Information Counter, Level 2, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City. (next to Lane Crawford)