Kaws Interview

This interview was conducted in 1996 through email for Art Crimes and was edited by BrettWebb. Interview © copyright 1996 Brett Webb, Art Crimes, all of the images are © copyright 1996 Kaws. Do not republish without permission.

Art Crimes: When did you start writing? How did you get started?
Kaws: My first interest in graffitti came when I was in grammar school, around '87 or '88 I was about twelve years old. I did not know much about writing, I just knew that I liked to write my name everywhere I could in my neighborhood. At that time I knew nothing about the world of graff that was happening in New York. I just knew the few names I saw around my area. Later on, around '91. I started getting into bombing on a more serious level,trying to cover larger areas of Jersey and Manhattan, especially Soho. From there I got interested in piecing and doing large walls. As soon as I did my first piece I was hooked. I just started painting as much as possible,wherever I could. I was a fiend and still am to this day.

Art Crimes: What crews are you in or have you been down with?
Kaws: I have been down with a number of crews since I started writing. The only ones I represent today are DF, FC and TC5.

Art Crimes: Who influenced you in the beginning? Do you count anyone as an influence on your current work?
Kaws: In the beginning my influences were just local kids. They were all I knew of. The first person who brought me out painting was T.DEE. We did alot of bombing and piecing then and he is still one of my closest partners. My influences today are mostly the people I paint with and my teachers at school. I find that aside from painting alone it is most rewarding to paint with the people you respect and whose work you admire.


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