Art: KAWS Discusses Development Of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon

One of the longstanding American Thanksgiving traditions is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s most widely known for the massive balloon versions of cartoon characters. Over the past few years, parade organizers have reached out to well regarded pop and street artists to add a touch of cool to this otherwise bland event. Most recently, creations from artists Takashi Murakami (2010) and Jeff Koons (2008) were included while this year, Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS was asked to participate.

KAWS decided to tap one of his most famous characters, ‘Companion‘ (1999), as the piece to be included in the parade. He felt that the emotion quality of the sculpture and it’s expression was a nice departure from the other cartoon characters and super heros we’ve become accustomed to associate with the parade.

Just do a search on Instagram or Twitter for #KAWS and you’ll find a wealth of pictures and shout outs from collectors/fans who tuned in just to see the massive ‘Companion’ float through the streets of NYC.

Here KAWS discusses how the project came about, why he chose ‘Companion’, and his preparation for the big event.


This story was also featured on CBS News Sunday Morning this weekend. Some great past and present interview footage.