In 2002, Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III founded the L.A.-based art collective FriendsWithYou with the “sole purpose of spreading the positive message of magic, luck, and friendship.” Starting with a series of plush sculptures — a collection of whimsy anthropomorphic “Friends,” like Albino Squid and Shoebaca (a telekinetically skilled creature who comes with two detachable kidneys) — FriendsWithYou has evolved to focus on experiential art, including interactive installations and live performances. The collective’s more recent repertoire includes everything from setting up an “interactive rainbow shrine” in Hong Kong to a mushroom bounce house in Rainbow City to psychic stones (resin-cast power amulets imbued with “customized spells” for self-empowerment and healing benefits).
FriendsWithYou also counts celebrity turned curator of the moment Pharrell among its biggest fans. “They’re people who utilize their gut instincts and imagination and turn it into reality,” Pharrell reflects enthusiastically in an interview with Maxwell Williams that appears in We Are FriendsWithYou — a new monograph that charts the collective’s 12-year evolution. “I admire the fact that they really live their art,” he continues. “These guys are more than just paintings and sculptures, they are two really large proponents for experience, which is the ultimate wealth as a human being on this planet.” Click through the slideshow for a look at some colorful, goofy, cloud-and-rainbow-heavy art that Pharrell enjoys.
The New York launch for We Are FriendsWithYou will take place at PK Shop on June 5 from 6–8 p.m.