Years: 1996 - 1999
Notable works: Untitled (Calvin Klein), Untitled (DKNY), Christy Turlington Ad Disruption
The mid-late-nineties stage of KAWS' work dealt with injecting his own iconography and graffiti writing into the ever-increasing corporate advertising that was seeping into urban landscapes. It's said he worked at the New York Metro System, making the spread of his work easier. He tooled with billboards and bus stop ads, as the video below shows, creating something that causes you to look twice. "I wanted people to think what I did was part of the ad campaign," KAWS said in 2004. "I painted with no brush strokes, clean and unobtrusive, as if it was part of the ad." His merging of the actual ad with the artwork itself speaks to the commerce/artwork duality KAWS consistently straddles. "They started doing those full-building billboards down Houston," KAWS told Interview Magazine in 2010, "taking over walls that had been covered in graffiti for years. It became a focal point for me to take back some of those spots." By 2008, these recovered ads were selling for $22,000 on eBay.