Born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955 to a father who owned a factory and a mother who was an art teacher. Koons attended Maryland University and received his BFA from the School of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. His work has been classified as pop art, new sculpture, post expressionism and neo classical all of which are used to describe his work. His work typically consists of large scale objects or installations that contain popular imagery which is recontextualized, printed in inflatables and then cast in the special edition pieces. If you look at a lot of Koons’s work it is surely recognizable yet he manages to make it entirely his own by the use of new materials, new ways to present it and his own art historical references.

He is most recognized for the balloon dogs / sculptures and has been producing them since the 1980s. The balloons are made from polyvinyl chloride which inflate to an enormous size (the smallest being 5 feet high). They have become part of pop culture in the art world and are considered one of the most significant works of the 20th century. Koons has made many sculptures with inflatables, but these balloon dogs seem to be his most popular pieces.

Early in his career he was a photographer for magazines such as Artforum which helped him gain exposure in the art community in New York City. He is known for using the same imagery in several of his works over time. This was most famously demonstrated in 1988 when he created a series of Balloon dogs and then again with the “Banality” works (which features a hula girl) which consisted of 8 polychrome porcelain sculptures originally produced in 1979-1980 which he reproduced in 1983, 1992 and 1995. He has produced several works with reproductions of famous art which he references from his own work. In 2004 he created Jeff Koons a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). Notable people who have commented on his work include; Andy Warhol whom loved him calling him “the new Houdini” and by Salvador Dali “Jeff Koons is the most brilliant of the young American artists...he has already begun to immortalize his name in the history of contemporary art.

He is a high end pop artist. Koons uses imagery that everyone can relate to but he puts into his own context without making the viewer feel like they are being talked down to. He’s very aware of how he presents things and like Warhol he is very good at manipulating the art world. Instead of using a chair or a new found object, Koons designs something that everyone will recognize but no one else has probably thought about in relation to their own work which makes him so incredibly unique. 

He creates very large pieces that are very popular and recognizable. Over the last two decades he has created some of the largest sculptures available to date. They are also incredibly expensive with small sculptures starting at around $250,000. In 1985 at his first big solo show in New York City he showed his famous "The Table of Honor" which raised eyebrows because it was extremely expensive at $25,000 and inflatable. The piece created so much buzz that Time Magazine featured him on the cover of an issue. His work is not only incredibly popular but he also creates many reproductions allowing pieces to be sold for more than one million dollars. What makes Koons famous is his unique style which is a combination of pop art and neo-classical. He fuses the two together seamlessly.

Using inflatables allows Koons to take things that are common from food to portraits and make them enormous so they will be recognized by everyone but put into a new context which reinterprets the image as his own.

His work has been described as “a new kind of Baroque art,” referencing a period in European history where everything was large and grand. His sculptures are shown all over the world from Istanbul to Paris to New York City. He has also done several shows with notable people such as Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

He makes large expensive art that has been featured in many magazines and is currently one of the most sought after artists. His work can be found in major museums worldwide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and Tate Modern (London). Some of his works are also available online should you want a piece of his craft