Kanye and KAWS

Why you should know about him: In addition to being one of our 25 Most Important Artists of 2012 (So Far), KAWS is an artist whose work began in graffiti and quickly became in-demand vinyl toys, clothing, sculptures, and acrylic paintings. He's done work all over the world, always blurring the line between fine art and mass-produced commercial art, which includes collaborations with BAPE, Jun Takahashi, Kung Faux, Burton, Nike, Vans, Comme des Garçons, Dos Equis, and the Simpsons.

"When you paint over ads, it clicks—especially with the phone booths I was doing. There were these Calvin Klein ads of Kate Moss or Christy Turlington. I think that’s when I realized it was more about communication. There was a dialogue to it."

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