KAWS inherits a key from friend and fellow graffiti artist, Barry Mcgee allowing him to access bus shelters and phone booths to subvert billboards. He moves on to include subway ads and billboards across in New York, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and other major cities, gaining some notoriety among the street art movement and subsequently the streetwear community.
The companion makes its first appearance with Japanese toy and streetwear brand Bounty Hunter.
KAWS gains notoriety for his The Kimpsons project, a parody on the Simpsons, with characters rocking the trademarked crossed out eyes.
Donnelly creates The KAWS album, a parody of The Beatles’ iconic 1967 album cover, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It shows the Kimpsons, lined up all with the iconic XX over their eyes.
KAWS and Medicom Toy open OriginalFake, a brand and store in Aoyama. The store ran until 2013. The brand boasted a collection of collabs including Supreme (feat. Kate Moss) and long-term friend and collaborator Nigo’s BAPE.
KAWS gains global exposure with a special edition artwork for Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak album.
KAWS releases a tome of his artwork. The release with Rizzoli was the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work, comprised of works spanning 1993 – 2010.
KAWS teams up with The Standard on a set of collectible light bulbs that featured a filament in the shape of the artist’s double-X motif.
Donning the iconic color scheme, KAWS designs a special bottle for Hennessy VS cognac.
Companion graces the streets of New York City as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The artist redesigns the iconic MTV VMA Moonman award. The first time it has been reworked in 30 years, it received the iconic skull and crossbones, the companion gloves and a gunmetal finish.
The artist collaborates with COMME des GARÇONS to create the artwork for Pharrell William’s signature Girl fragrance.
The collaboration that streetwear lovers and sneakerheads were waiting for: KAWS x Jordan.
The MoMA in New York releases limited supplies of a $200 companion figure. The site crashes due to traffic.
A 121-foot-long inflatable version of KAWS’ companion is installed in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour during Art Basel. Anchored by a 40-ton weight, versions of the piece — dubbed KAWS: HOLIDAY — were previously on view in Seoul and Taipei.
Brooklyn, New York
What is the KAWS companion?
The KAWS companion first appeared in 1999 when Japanese streetwear brand Bounty Hunter approach Donnelly. The companion first appeared only in brown, gray and black colorways. The vinyl Mickey Mouse style figure with X’ed out eyes was limited to 500 pieces and sold out quickly. From quirky hybrids with iconic pop culture figures to 4ft figurines, the KAWS companion has made its mark on the streetwear world and can be spotted in the collections of some of the hottest stars ike Kanye and beyond, and on many an apparel item.