Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS, spent the first year of his career as an animator for Disney. After leaving in 1997, KAWS took inspiration from the company’s signature cartoon, Mickey Mouse, to create his own set of characters that he named “Companions.” With gloved hands and X’s for eyes, “Companions” first appeared in KAWS’s graffiti works across New York City in the late 1990s. By the end of the decade, the street artist created his first …

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