KAWS House Is A Dream

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The living room

A few years ago, Donnelly had just completed an ambitious new working studio in another Brooklyn neighborhood with Japanese designer Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall, when the triangle-shaped industrial building the family now calls home caught his eye. “I used to walk by here every once in a while,” says the artist. “I wasn’t looking for a place—though I always like to look—so it was a spontaneous purchase. And after completing my main studio, which was a ground-up project, I came into this wanting to just get in as quickly as possible.” Though he has had a long and fruitful working relationship with Katayama, with whom he created the OriginalFake store in Tokyo in 2006, this time he chose to forgo the services of an architect. Instead, he turned to good friend and contractor Jake Klotz to help make the best of the oddly shaped floors. “We made it work for us,” says the artist. “We have room, we have walls to hang art, and we love the indoor/outdoor space for the kids. The challenge has been to make the home feel ‘cozy,’ Sunny’s favorite word.”

The Living Room

Donnelly acquired the entire building and divided it between the family living areas on one side and administrative offices and art storage on the other. His studio, where most of the art-making takes place, is just a short bike ride away. For Donnelly, who describes himself as “not very social,” time is mostly spent between there and the house, with trips to the park with Sunny. “I tend to live in a bit of a bubble between home and work.” For Chiang, whose studio is now in the building, “the most exciting part was that I would be able to work every day and still be right next to the kids.”

Bench in foyer

One of the most surprising, and wonderful, things about visiting Donnelly at home is discovering his vast and varied collection of art, ranging from the 1950s to the present. He goes wide and deep, meaning he’s interested in many different artists and, in a few cases, has acquired dozens of works by the same artist. “I collect piece by piece,” he says of his method. “But then you get into it and you just start thinking about the missing pieces.” The fruit of his assemblage can be seen in every room of the house, where works by such art stars as Raymond Pettibon, George Condo, Mike Kelley, Alex Katz, and many more are on constant rotation. (In addition to works in storage, at any given time there are also several pieces out on loan to various exhibitions.)

Art in hallway

The living room

“I don’t buy art to put in specific places,” he explains. “I just collect what I love and hope to find a place for it to be visible.” Notably, with the exception of some plush toys like BFF, his own art is nowhere in sight. “I spend all day every day surrounded by my work,” he says. “When I come home, it’s refreshing to focus on other artists.” He also collects decorative arts and sculpture, and highlights include large and impressive works by architect/designer Gaetano Pesce and American artist H. C. Westermann. This is a family that truly lives with art, art that includes more than a few “jump on” pieces. What could be more cozy than that?

The Dining Room

A room with art

Child's bedroom

Openair courtyard

Peanuts toy

Toy

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