Steve Aoki is famously known as the fourth highest paid DJ in the world, but that is but a single element that makes up the man.
Not only does the entertainer have multiple businesses - ranging from a record label to stakes in five major restaurants - he also collaborates with companies such as Diesel and Converse to create new and improved products with his iconic trademark spin.
Aoki has also been an art collector for the last sixteen years, from keeping records left by friends who moved away, to his visually striking collection of art that is the signature of his Las Vegas wonderland.
But how did it start?
Alongside music records changing the way that Aoki thought about ownership, he also cites high end toys as his gateway into the world of collecting art, describing them as financially achievable and relatable to show around friends.
After a decade and a half of collecting art, Aoki still keeps it simple. For him, it’s about how he feels about the piece, as well as partaking in creative culture.
Aoki and KAWS
The most extensive collection from an artist that Aoki holds is a room filled with KAWS’ three dimensional sculptures.
From floor to ceiling and in every colour and size, Aoki’s museumesque collection categorises seminal pieces in the limitless number of toys made by his favourite artist.
Aoki enjoys the feeling of being overwhelmed by his collection and the iconic brand that is KAWS.
Who is KAWs?
The toy maker, clothing designer and artist that is KAWS started out as a graffiti artist known in New Jersey and Manhattan for his tag of the same name. Having heavy interest within advertising, the artist would draw and paint over billboards and phonebooths as a form of expression, building up his use of cartoon iconography with graffiti tropes. After completing his studies within illustration he was scouted by Disney, with his most notable work being the backdrop of 101 Dalmatians.
The First KAWS Toy
KAWS made a deal with a friend to create a painting in exchange for a trip to Japan in the late nineties, wanting a new experience. Little did he know it at that time, but this trip would change KAWS’ protectory as an artist.
After meeting the likes of Hikaru Iwanaga from Bounty Hunter, KAWS was asked if he wanted to make his own toy(s). The artist was intrigued at the prospect of seeing his work in the three dimensional and wanted to create a toy that was derivative of the work he had previously been making over advertisements, as well as his animation experience with Disney.
The First toy, COMPANION was completed in 1999.
To find out more about the benefits of buying art and how to get started, download our investment guide here.