“Companion has been a recurring character for me,” says Donnelly. In the past decade, it has been both a toy and a monumental sculpture. A 16-foot steel version went up in Hong Kong’s Harbour City in 2010 and, later, outside of New York’s Standard hotel. Painted gray, white and brown, the figure poses in a seated position, hunched slightly and covering its eyes. “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,” says Donnelly. “That would be the worst experience ever. That’s where the pose came from.” A variation on that Companion will fly on Thanksgiving. “I think this is a first for the parade,” says Macy’s lead designer, John Piper, standing in a roomful of brightly colored clay prototypes at Macy’s 75,000-square-foot parade studio in New Jersey. “It’s the first time we’ve had a character that’s shy.”
It took more than 30 people roughly seven months to make it a reality and is the biggest pieces KAWS has ever done.