Street artist KAWS at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

On CBS Sunday Morning, a video feature on the street artist KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly, 38, whose Companion character was a float in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The gray-and-white creature "who's a little too shy to show his face" floated in the parade right next to Mickey and Donald and other icons. In his native Jersey City, KAWS' faded tags "can still be seen on the sides of buildings."

Earlier this year, Carol Vogel wrote in the New York Times about the planned parade inclusion of Companion.

Below, ARTINFO interviewed KAWS in his studio as he put the finishing touches on the floating character (via Sean Bonner).


  1. Now that he has the attention he was seeking I presume he will go back and remove those “faded tags” that “can still be seen on the sides of buildings,” which i suspect no one actually asked to have placed on their building.

  2. I like the character created for the parade as well as the associated drawing. I find it relate-able on a popular culture level ( as an art cartoon and almost a nostalgia piece; it seems old). As an introvert, I get the face covering. I’m not “feeling” the rest of his work featured, or his persona, on the Sunday morning show. But I also realize that it means nothing since he is selling work, has fans, and perhaps the show didn’t really represent him accurately. I suppose I should reserve judgement, overall, until I see more.

  3. The character is a “little too shy”? I thought it represented death (which I thought was kinda funny for a Macy’s Parade). Generally speaking, when a cartoon character has X’s for eyes that means they died. — Just sayin’ ;-)

  4. i don’t know the artist but i interpreted it as a protest piece. Wearing Mickey Mouse gloves and shorts but the character lacks the bright colors of the other characters and has X’d out eyes, the death of the season as Black Friday hysteria takes over… and covering it’s eyes to block out all the commercial nonsense of the parade. i thought it was funny the way the commentators obliviously described the “shy” character. I don’t know the other work of this artist and will not look into it since I like my interpretation of the balloon. I was like “you go mystery protest balloon artist!”

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