Companion (grey) is a signed screen print in colours on woven paper made by American artist and designer, KAWS. Produced in 2001, the print depicts KAWS’ much loved cartoon character, Companion. Rendered in grey against a white backdrop, Companion stands in the centre of the composition and seems to pose with his hands on his hips.
The print belongs to the Companion collection, a series of prints that each depict Companion in different settings and styles. While Companion’s appearance differs slightly from print to print, the cartoon character is always characterised by his distinct body shape which is reminiscent of Mickey Mouse as well as his skull and crossbone head and crossed out eyes.
Companion was created by KAWS in 1999 and was born out of KAWS’ early experimentation with graffiti and street art. KAWS moved to New York to study illustration at the School of Visual Arts in the 1990s and took to the streets, spray painting phone booths and bus shelters with a stock of original cartoon characters, one of which was Companion. Companion repeatedly features in KAWS’ artworks and the cartoon character has become closely associated with the artist’s name. Other notable characters that KAWS created and appear frequently in his artworks are Accomplice, Chum and Bendy.