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Kaws Timelapse Portrait mp41667382510

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The History of Kaws Companion





Contemporary art has the power to reflect our world, and sometimes our world is filled with 5-Star Fun - which is always the case with Kaws!

Who is KAWS?

We know Brian Donnelly better under his professional name Kaws. This American graffiti artist gets his inspiration from toys. He makes paintings and sculptures in his own unique style.

You may recognize some of Kaws artworks from popular comic books or cartoons. The combination of cartoons influences and makes Kaws' artworks very playful. In addition to works of art, Kaws also makes limited-edition toys and clothing. In this way, the artist achieved popularity and is well-known among young people.

Moco Museum Loves Kaws

As an inclusive museum, Moco embraces visitors for stepping into the world of art; for many, it is their first time. Visitors to Moco Museum will discover works by Kaws in Amsterdam and Barcelona. The contemporary artist plays with art and its relation to the viewer. Throughout his career, he has created a wonderfully wild and fun cast of characters for people of all generations to connect with - and none is more beloved than Kaws' COMPANION!

Kaws Companion

In 1999, KAWS launched his very first COMPANION toy as an edition of 500. The toys sold out almost immediately and COMPANION became a recurring figure in KAWS' work, taking over popular culture. In detail, COMPANION features a skull for a head with a pair of the artist's signature 'X' eyes. COMPANION also sports signature button trousers. The cartoon-hybrid figure has endured our ever-changing tastes for more than two decades. Today, COMPANION is one of the most collectible figures around, proving that it's a timeless work of art.

KAWS in Amsterdam
Out of all the characters that KAWS has created, the Mickey Mouse-inspired Companion is his most iconic. Previously exhibited in the Moco Museum Garden in Amsterdam, Companion (Passing Through) possesses the artist's trademark skull head with crossbones and measures the same size as a real-life child. *This is one of the few sculptures by KAWS on view in a public art space in Amsterdam. Moco Amsterdam continues to exhibit a diverse selection of work from the contemporary artist as part of its Contemporary Masters exhibition.

Kaws in Barcelona
In addition to Companion by Kaws, the contemporary master created reiterations of this figure, including his Hatless Kurf character. Inspired by the cartoon Smurfs, visitors to Moco Barcelona are welcomed by a monumental sculpture by Kaws. Interestingly, the work is sculpted from afrormosia, a historic African wood that is believed to hold spiritual energy. In part of the Contemporary Masters exhibition, the Kaws experience continues at Barcelona! There is a dedicated space to exhibit the artist and his diverse practice that includes painting, furniture, sculpture, and so much more!

Where else in the World is KAWS' Companion?

March 2019, a 121-foot long inflatable version of the character was installed in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour during Art Basel. It was anchored by a 40-ton weight. The monumental, inflatable versions of COMPANION have also appeared in Seoul and Taipei. 2012, he also created a giant balloon version that was featured in the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

COMPANION has transcended two decades of change and still remains one of the most collectible art toys out there. It unites fashion, design, art...and fun! For many, the KAWS COMPANION figure is our point of access into the world of art and a friendly reminder to always play.