Both these designer art toys are collectibles in their own right. Kaws figures and Bearbrick figures are not only popular in the contemporary art world but as in the sneaker/street culture world. You'll find everyone collecting both these designer art toys. From a friend, to a celebrity or serious art toy collectors. Over the last few years both toy figures have gotten quite popular in their own right.
Sneakerheads will post a figure or two around their sneakers, famous people will brag about their large Kaws figures in the corner of a hallway in their house. These art toys have become not only a phenomena, but also more of a statement piece for ones place. Similar to how a Picasso or Roy Lichtenstein piece of art can be the cherry on top for a wealthy individuals room.
Many store their Kaws figures and Bearbrick figures in glass boxes, you'd think they were antiques. No matter anyones opinion on these designer art toys, they're popular and many want to collect both.
What are KAWS Figures and Bearbrick?
If you're thinking these art toys do something special because they're sought after and come with a higher than average price tag, you're wrong. They are simple plastic designer art toys, varying in size and design. Both Kaws figures and Bearbrick figures are made by the Japanese company Medicom.
Photo: Medicom Toy
Like any type of artwork you buy, they're not meant to be played with. They're made to place somewhere in your home and be admired, like any other piece of artwork you'd purchase.
Whether its a small figure on your desk or a statement life size Bearbrick 1000% at the end of your hallway. Before you ask, yes theres been a few collaborations between KAWS and Bearbrick. The most notable one being KAWS Bearbrick Dissected 1000%.
What's the difference between KAWS Figures and Bearbrick?
Starting off with the similarities of Kaws figures and Bearbrick figures is as stated earlier, the same company produces both toys Medicom. Despite the Japanese toy manufacturer producing both toys, these toys are produced differently. Different in the sense that Kaws figures are made by an actual blue-chip artist, Brian Donnelly aka KAWS. Bearbrick on the other hand are all over the market and aren't made by any specific artist per-say.
Photo: Medicom Toy
Bearbrick does have it's collaborations with famous established artists, such as Daniel Arsham, Hajime Sorayama, Keith Haring and many more. But the entire figure isn't made by these famous artists, they're simply a collaboration between Bearbrick/Medicom and the famous artist.
KAWS Figures on the other hand as I said earlier are designed by Brian Donnelly and only him. Meaning they're harder to find/purchase, they're more expensive and compared to Bearbrick figures, Kaws figures are considered more a piece of art.
Both are great for what they're meant to be used for, both are also just as popular as one another. It all depends on what you're after and what you find more visually appealing to you.
One thing I like more about Bearbricks is the fact theres a figure out theres for everyone. With so many designs to choose from, theres a Bearbrick out there that suites just about anyone, similar to Funko Pops. Theres many other designer art toys on the market, but Kaws Figures and Bearbrick dominate the space.
Kaws Figures Sizes and Bearbrick Sizes
Both designer art toys come in various different sizes. If you're pondering on what size to buy, let me first start by asking you these questions. Where do you plan on putting this art toy? What's your budget? Are you just starting off your collection? These 3 different questions will help you determine what your first or next figure size should be.
Photo Credit: Yip Jieying
KAWS figures vary, some are as big as a building but those tend to be artwork made by Brain Donnelly and displayed either at a museum or outside in a big city capital. The smallest size is around 8 inches tall and the largest being around 46 inches (life/human sized).
Theres many Bearbrick sizes, these art toys come in 6 different sizes to choose from. You can imagine that the bigger they get, the more costly the toy is. The most popular size amongst collectors tends to be 100% and 200% sizes because they're in the mid range of sizes and still affordable. All sizes are listed below from smallest to the largest.
Kaws Figures and Bearbrick Figures are Fine Art Toys
No matter what you end up purchasing between both popular art toys. KAWS figures and Bearbrick figures are both popular in their own respect. In the last few years both art toys have gained quite a bit in price. The resale market for both art toys is thriving. Everyone collects them, toy collectors, contemporary art collectors and celebrities as well.
Both toys usually retail for around $100 - $500 when first being sold. Resale values on the other hand are much higher, depending on the rarity and demand of the specific figure. You will be spending much more than the original retail space. For example, theres KAWS figures selling for $4000 - $6000 USD that first retailed for $200 USD. Same thing with Bearbrick figures, depending on the rarity of the toy pricing can get a bit crazy. Visit STOCKX to explore the resale market of both art toys.
Photo: STOCKX - Most Expensive KAWS Figure / Auctioned for $26,481 USD
Which should you buy? KAWS figure or a Bearbrick? For those familiar with Brian Donnelly aka KAWS, it may be a no brainer for you which you'd like to purchase first of the two. Also for those who're more into the contemporary art world, you'll probably want to purchase a KAWS figure because you've known of Brian Donnelly's work for years.
For those simply fascinated by look and the idea of collecting a designer art toy, and who're also starting out. Buy a small Bearbrick figure for your first piece. It depends on what you're looking to spend and what your budget is.
I prefer KAWS figures a tad more only because I'm a contemporary art lover. But I also see the appeal in Bearbrick figures because of the large selection of designs they have to offer.