In January of 2019, Street artist Kaws displayed his largest sculptural installation in the center of Taipei. The installation, an 11 story high inflatable character powered by an army of fans and diesel generators, ran for an entire week for visitors from both Taiwan and other cities to come and enjoy. Surprisingly, though Kaws only announced the installation a couple weeks before the actual event, there were many foreign tourists who had come to enjoy the work.
Every day, hundreds to thousands would line up to get a photo with the character and enjoy a very, very short lights show that would run once the sun went down. Seriously, the show was only a few seconds long.
Along with the giant Companion, you could also grab some official Kaws goodies in a pop up shop positioned near the Companion’s left foot. Included in this collection were some t-shirts, tote bags, a collectible set of Companion ceramic plates for dim sum, and—of course—some vinyl toy replicas of the Kaws: Holiday Taipei installation. Almost all of the items sold out immediately to a line of people who had waited for hours to get their collectibles. Luckily, Adjima managed to get our hands on a complete set of vinyl toys.
Taipei itself is already clearly in love with Kaws. Everywhere we went in the city, we found displays of his vinyl toys and prints of his design. One street corner in the XiMen area featured a claw machine of what we assume were knock-off Kaws’ collaboration with Peanuts and Uniqlo.