First Look: Kaws Companion for the Thanksgiving Day Parade

By - Friday, October 26th, 2012

Joining the ranks of only four other living artists, Brian Donelly will have a balloon of his own design in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Better known as graffiti artist Kaws, Donelly will see a version of his Companion float down 8th Ave. come November. The Jersey City native, who is also an acclaimed toy maker, designer, and painter, joins such rare company as Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Tom Otterness and Tim Burton in having a balloon be a part of the annual parade. Of the hunched and rather shy character that inspired the design of his balloon, Donelly says “Companion has been a recurring character for me,” “I was thinking, God, if I had to sit there all day and have a million people pass me and stare, I’d be mortified.” He continued “That would be the worst experience ever. That’s where the pose came from.” The Companion balloon was manufactured in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and kept a crew of more than 30 people busy for 7 months. At 4,500 cubic feet in volume and 40 feet long, every inch of it was painted by hand. Donelly says it’s the most massive piece he’s ever done. “It’s hard to take an artist who has international recognition and find some way to put them in awe,” says Piper, who has been with the parade for 32 years. “But when they see their balloon, suddenly, they’re a kid just like everyone else: When Murakami came, he did a whole blessing with rice and wine over the balloons while they were being inflated; Tim Burton was speechless. Even with somebody who works in the field and understands scale, renderings and models, when they’re finally next to their creation, in the form of a real Macy’s balloon, it always takes their breath away.” Source: Wall Street Journal

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