MTV has changed a lot over the years, moving from a TV station that mostly played music videos to a TV station that airs more than its fair share of wild reality content, including stuff like Teen Mom and the now-defunct Buckwild. With the nature of MTV changing, the network felt it was time for the VMAs iconic Moonman statue to change, too—especially since the VMAs are headed back to Brooklyn this year.
One would hope that the Moonman might be changing for good, but actually this year’s edition will be a limited one, redesigned by famous Brooklyn artist KAWS, who has attracted scores of celebrity fans over the years. But KAWS recently told MTV that he’s glad his Moonman statue will be a one and done affair.
"That's what I liked about the project; I wouldn¹t want to redesign it for history, I like the idea that at this moment, this first time in Brooklyn, the Moonman's going to change. I like the fact that, 40 or 60 artists will win this piece, and the majority won't know anything about my work. [And] I'm sure you'll have artists that are mad; they have their perfect chrome line of Moonmen and I've somehow ruined that symmetry ... I love that idea."
The new statue is different from the regular Moonman in several ways. It has a gunmetal finish and the X’s over the character’s eyes that make it a characteristic KAWS piece. Those aren’t the only liberties the artist took with the design, however.
“The original Moonman was standing on the MTV logo, I took liberties like replacing the footprint; the bones are similar to the bones on the characters I design."
The older Moonman is a little more rounded and less cartoonish. Forty to 60 statues are expected to be given out at this year’s awards, and you can spot the way the statue has evolved for this year’s event, below.
KAWS is often into doing limited edition projects, including a line of highly collectible vinyl toys. For last year’s Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade, the artist also put together a giant balloon in the shape of his famous character, Companion, that flew alongside more iconic characters. The Moonman might only be changing for this year's awards, but maybe it will inspire MTV to do more Moonman collaborations in the future. This year's VMAs ceremony airs on August 25.