KAWS, a name known in most circles as an influential graffiti artist, saw his credentials literally elevate as he designed the newest balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The artist was approached by a Macy’s executive earlier in the year, who also specified that KAWS was the most obvious candidate for designing the addition. The artist chose his iconic “Companion” character for the 41-foot balloon, which was hand-stitched at a secret location in South Dakota. KAWS’ commercial success is indeed refreshing, especially in such a high-profile event, yet also brings to question the stigma surrounding graffiti as a whole. We ponder the double standard of a culture that celebrates art in the form of a balloon, yet sucks its teeth when the same art is written on walls. Does this affect the innately rebellious essence of graffiti as a whole? To see KAWS’ success lends some hope to artists everywhere, and the accompanying video does well to encourage the confidence that our cultural landscape is shifting toward open-mindedness.
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