For two decades, KAWS has been a cornerstone of the culture. Now, he’s teaming up with General Mills to reinterpret the most memorable characters from your childhood breakfast table.
Few creatives are renowned in contemporary art quite like KAWS.
Born Brian Donnelly, his art has no language or cultural barrier. Even if the name KAWS doesn’t immediately ring a bell, his work most likely will. His unique style translates beyond the exclusive, insular world of high art, emphasizing designs that are accessible to diverse audiences.
Most recently, KAWS linked up with General Mills to add his signature flair to a customized line of the brand’s most recognizable characters. As part of the collab, Boardroom is giving fans a chance to win a limited-edition set.
But before you enter — don’t worry, all the details are below! — learn more about the New York-based artist.
One of the New Jersey native’s biggest claims to fame is his reinterpretations of familiar figures. Throughout his career, KAWS has created a number of renditions of high-profile characters — from Sesame Street to Disney, he applies his signature aesthetic marked by puffed-up proportions and crossed-out eyes.
Notably, his work is not bound by the limitations of one medium, running the gamut from graphic design to large-scale sculpture to painting to murals and beyond.
Perhaps most famously, he is the artist behind the Companion series highlighted by a famous Mickey Mouse rendering that trades the carefree character’s defining features for grayscale coloration, a face covered by both hands, and a pair of bones sticking out from his head. KAWS first introduced the piece in 1999, and since then, it’s existed
From large-scale installations to major pop culture moments, KAWS’ work is frequently on display.
You know those iconic Moonperson trophies from the MTV VMAs? In 2013, they were reimagined to resemble the Companion‘s likeness. Companion has also played a starring role in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade — in 2012, a 40-foot Companion balloon floated down 5th Avenue during the annual event.
Though monumental, Companion is just one of the many accomplishments on KAWS’ extremely long résumé. The 47-year-old has worked with some of the most iconic brands and industry movers, including:
More recently, he teamed up with Kid Cudi for a custom design to commemorate the Cleveland rapper’s limited-edition Man on the Moon custom vinyl box set. The collab was the result of an ongoing creative exchange between the two artists, which also culminated in a custom 1-of-1 varsity jacket that Cudi wore on his most recent tour designed by Nigo.
In addition to his creative connections, KAWS has an ongoing series, in which he invites big names in music, art, and more into his home studio for inspirational conversations. Through it all, his work has been the coveted prize of collectors around the world, with his original work fetching millions of dollars at auctions and gracing the halls of several museums. His status as an influencer within his trade was recognized earlier this year at Washington, DC’s Hirshhorn Museum as well — the modern art gallery presented him with an award at this year’s Hirshhorn Ball for his commitment to art and culture.
And for his next act, KAWS is using his talents for something sweet.
General Mills’ popular monster-themed cereals — Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Frute Brute — are getting the KAWS treatment with custom-designed boxes. Drawing inspiration from the vintage looks of the original boxes, this year’s seasonal drop additionally marks Frute Brute’s triumphant return for the first time since 2013.
“It’s been a thrill to collaborate with General Mills and Monster Cereals,” KAWS said. “I’ve been a big fan of the cereals since I was a kid. Even now, I love the original box designs and the creativity and imagination they invoke.”
In addition to the four box designs, KAWS also developed collectible prizes for each character. After purchasing one of the four special boxes at participating retailers nationwide, fans will find a unique code on the back with details on how to enter.
However, Boardroom has a unique opportunity to get your hands on your own version.
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