Pharrell Williams Praises Artist Duo FriendsWithYou

"Mushroom Bounce House", Rainbow City (2010) From We Are FriendsWithYou, Rizzoli New York, 2014

We recently endorsed LA-based art collective FriendsWithYou as one of our favorite artist-run Instagram accounts, but guess who else is a fan? That’s right, curator and celebrity art darling of the moment, Pharrell Williams. The rapper told New York magazine that he digs that the duo is about “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.” Can’t argue with that.

"Into the Clouds" (2013) Photo via FriendsWithYou

FriendsWithYou, Into the Clouds (2013).
Photo: Via FriendsWithYou/Instagram.

Over the past 12 years, FriendsWithYou (also known as Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III) has created a wide world of adorable, anthropomorphic characters. What started as a series of plush sculptures has expanded into projects like a mushroom bouncy-house in Hong Kong, giant balloons at Art Basel, a short film, installations, and more. Unsurprisingly, they cite Murakami, Arturo Herrera, and Yayoi Kusama as inspiration, but also veer outside the confines of contemporary art, drawing on the work of writers, filmmakers, and anime artists.

On June 5, Paul Kasmin Gallery’s shop and bookstore will host a launch party and book signing for We Are FriendsWithYou, a monograph that promises to “[reveal] never-before-seen insight into the complete body of work from the art duo responsible for spreading the self-proclaimed “happy-virus.” And, hey, you might even spot Pharrell hanging around waiting for an autograph.

"Happy Rainbow," TMT Plaza, Hong Kong (2012) From We Are FriendsWithYou, Rizzoli New York, 2014

FriendsWithYou, Happy Rainbow, TMT Plaza, Hong Kong (2012).
From We Are FriendsWithYou, Rizzoli New York, 2014.

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