KAWS, BLITZ CLEAR, 2004. Courtesy of Chet Gallery.

Brian Donnelly, the ex-Disney illustrator better known as KAWS, created his first vinyl toy in 1999: an eight-inch “Companion” whose round belly, noodly limbs, and white gloves immediately reminded viewers of the cartoons made famous by his former workplace. The limited edition toy, produced in collaboration with the Japanese brand Bounty Hunter, reflected KAWS’s desire to make his work more accessible to the public. In the years since, KAWS has rendered most of his signature characters in three dimensions, including Blitz, as well as his renditions of iconic cartoons like Snoopy, and Pinocchio. When first released, these sculptures often sell out in just seconds. When the Museum of Modern Art promoted KAWS’s toys in its design store, collector demand was so high that the museum’s website crashed multiple times.

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