Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.
Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017. Marc Stapelberg

AT ten meters tall, the face of an inflatable Happy Kanye became the most popular non-music feature of the first day of Splendour in the Grass 2017.

Barcelona-based art group Hungry Castle, featuring Dave Glass (aka Danger Dave) designed of the artwork, which is part of the arts program curated by Craig Wash this year.

Splendour crowds are the first ever to see Happy Kanye, as the sculpture is in its first ever public exhibition, with upcoming trips to the UK and Miami in the the USA.

The back of the sculpture allows festival punters to jump inside Kanye's head, where a smaller three-meter Kanye greets visitors.

The smaller Kanye interacts with visitors as soon as they start moving around or jumping inside the installation.

Danger Dave and Hungry Castle 'make the internet in real life' scouting for memes and other viral phenomenons and bringing them into reality through art.

"For our work, everything starts in the internet and celebrities are important to us, specially polarising celebrities like Kanye," he said.

"The most exiting thing for us is to create something that engages and makes people respond in different ways, and people are really responding in many ways to this work."

Sad Kanye vs Happy Kanye


Kanye feature at Splendour in the Grass.
Kanye feature at Splendour in the Grass. Marc Stapelberg

Danger Dave said the original concept was a Sad Kanye.

"The initial reaction to the concept was: 'wow, mental health... the guy has been to hospital, are you making a joke out of that? That's inappropriate!"

"That wasn't our intention at all, and it was great to see people interested and respond to it because that's what art should do."

Although based in Barcelona, Spain, the collective is formed by artists from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Danger Dave said this year's sculpture, Happy Kanye, is based on a viral meme called Sad Kanye.

"We wanted to flip it and make him happy," he said.

"You get inside, you can rub him, jump on him, you can bring him joy and pleasure, and make him happy.

"He is incredibly interactive, so when you use all your skill and might he will respond."

Danger Dave said it took around a hundred people to complete the artwork.

"From the original design, 3D model, LEd lights inside, the sound toy transport and hosting it, it took more than a hundred people to make Happy Kanye," he said.

Fourth time

This is the fourth year Hungry Castle brings their work to Splendour in the Grass.

"The first year we brought Lione Richie's Head, the second year it was Nicolas Cage in a Cage, and last year we brought Mr Poopie, the pink poop emoji that gave away icr-cream," the artist said.

"I think people have realised that, besides the great music, festivals like Splendour offer great interactive art pieces like this one."

Danger Dave confirmed the collective does not requests permission from the subjects to develop the artworks.

For details visit

Topics:  arts happy kanye hungry castle kanye west northern rivers music festivals splendour2017 whatson

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