The USA-based graffiti artist knowns as KAWS took inspiration from the restrictions imposed by the global pandemic to create an exhibition piece in the form of a hot air balloon, which onlookers in Bristol can enjoy as a shared outdoor experience as opposed to in a crowded gallery.
KAWS has created a hot air balloon in the shape of his well-known character called Companion. Companion is a large, Mickey Mouse-like figure who holds its hands over his eyes, which are marked by “X”s on the backs of its white gloves. Already a remarkable figure, KAWS’ Companion will stand at 42 metres tall in balloon form, becoming an imposing figure as it floats through the UK skies, and standing well above the treeline when it is on the ground.
The Companion balloon comprises part of the artist’s KAWS:HOLIDAY series of exhibits, and Companion is set to tour the globe to places including Australia, China, Turkey and Spain. Before it does that, locals in Bristol can book to climb aboard Companion when it touches down in Bristol later this year and become part of the artwork themselves.
The artist has explained that he wants Companion to stir up the skyline and surprise onlookers as it serenely sails by, offering moments of joy to those who see it and those who ride in it. For those who don’t get to climb aboard Companion this time around, many other hot air balloon adventures can be had in the skies of Bristol, Bath and other areas of the south west.