FriendsWithYou: Are these gigantic blow-up sculptures art?

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FriendsWithYou - Happy Rainbow, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Hong Kong, 2012

FriendsWithYou – Happy Rainbow, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Hong Kong, 2012

Published: January 18, 2017

Last updated:

Introduction

Highly interactive visual art has forged its way into the hearts and minds of the public. This new caliber of art is quirky, but it manages to so effortlessly fuse art, technology, and fashion in a trendy way that has us all captured.

One such collective is run by Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, who were born in Florida and Havana respectively. The Los Angeles based duo is more commonly referred to by their moniker, FriendsWithYou. The pair has collaborated since 2002 to produce joyful pieces of work intended to “spread Magic, Luck, and Friendship.

About FriendsWithYou

FriendsWithYou brings a flair of kid-friendly fun to any proceeding with its bouncy castles, smiling and at times, glowing celestial bodies, brightly colored balloons and blow up structures. The pair uses a broad range of pop-infused media including extensive experiential installations, sculptures, paintings, playgrounds, published artwork, as well as live performances to exhibit their installations.

The two collaborative artists embrace play while subtly highlighting themes of technological innovation, iconography and religion. Their works challenge the progression of mechanical innovation while effectively juxtaposing human feelings such as delight and gratification. This art is effectively bringing change to how people socially experience places, spaces and other people around them, therefore supplying individuals with an enriching experience every time.

Often, Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval have been aptly described as progenies of Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama. Since their work is so calculatingly playful, it might be difficult for some people to classify it as fine art. Instead, the artists represent their art disguised as bouncy castles or as anthropomorphized items. Recently, the crew introduced the first wave of a virtual reality experience aimed at giving people the opportunity to explore their emotions. For instance, their virtual reality ‘Light Spirit’ piece occurs in a metaphysical plane designed to affect people’s sentiments.

Conclusion

When asked why the size of their installations matter, the pair feels that size is essential as it dwarfs the audience, which helps in cultivating a sense of serenity and peace. At the end of it all, their pieces are intended to inspire emotions such as love, magic, and peace into the hearts of the audience. The pair continues to produce art that creates a blur between reality and imagination. Their focus remains to supply people with an active experience that is also interactive at the same time. So if you feel the need to undergo a calming and delightful experience that makes you yearn for light and love, watch out for the duo’s next installation.

Selected works

Seokchon Lake, Seoul, 2016
FriendsWithYou - Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea 3

FriendsWithYou – Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea

FriendsWithYou - Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea 2

FriendsWithYou – Super Moon, 2016, Seokchon Lake, Seoul, South Korea

Brookfield Place Toronto, Canada, 2013
FriendsWithYou - Starburst, Inflatable Sculpture- Ripstop Nylon, 300 inch diameter, Unique Piece, Brookfield Place Toronto 2013, Photo Ernesto DiStefano 2

FriendsWithYou – Starburst, 2011, inflatable sculpture, ripstop nylon, 300 inch diameter, Brookfield Place Toronto, Canada, 2013, photo: Ernesto DiStefano

FriendsWithYou - Starburst, Inflatable Sculpture- Ripstop Nylon, 300 inch diameter, Unique Piece, Brookfield Place Toronto 2013, Photo Ernesto DiStefano 4

FriendsWithYou – Starburst, 2011, inflatable sculpture, ripstop nylon, 300 inch diameter, Brookfield Place Toronto, Canada, 2013, photo: Ernesto DiStefano

Art Basel Miami Beach
FriendsWithYou - Starburst, Inflatable Sculpture- Ripstop Nylon, 300 inch diameter, Unique Piece, Art Basel Miami Beach 2010

FriendsWithYou – Starburst, 2011, inflatable sculpture, ripstop nylon, 300 inch diameter, Art Basel Miami Beach

FriendsWithYou - Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami, USA, 2013 2

FriendsWithYou – Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA, 2013

FriendsWithYou - Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami, USA, 2013 1

FriendsWithYou – Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA, 2013

FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Miami Basel 3

FriendsWithYou – Rainbow city, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA

FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Miami Basel 1

FriendsWithYou – Rainbow city, Art Basel Miami Beach, USA

Highline, New York
FriendsWithYou - Rainbow city, Highline 3

FriendsWithYou – Rainbow city, Highline, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA

FriendsWithYou – Light Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA, photo: Markus Marty

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 4

FriendsWithYou – Light Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA, photo: Alyssa Ringler

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 3

FriendsWithYou – Light Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA, photo: Alyssa Ringler

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA 2

FriendsWithYou – Light Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Standard High Line Plaza, NYC, USA, photo: Markus Marty

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery 1

FriendsWithYou – Light Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

FriendsWithYou - Light Cave, 2014, inflatable approximately 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, Photo Alyssa Ringler

FriendsWithYou – Light Cave, 2014, inflatable, 55ft x 25ft x 14ft, photo: Alyssa Ringler

Luminato, Toronto, Canada, 2010
FriendsWithYou - Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada 2

FriendsWithYou – Installation view, Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada

FriendsWithYou - Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada 2

FriendsWithYou – Installation view, Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada

FriendsWithYou - Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada 2

FriendsWithYou – Installation view, Wish Come True Festival, Luminato 2010, Toronto, Canada

Others
FriendsWithYou - At This is not a toy exhibition Design Exchange - Toronto, 2014 2

FriendsWithYou – Installation view, This is not a toy exhibition, Design Exchange, Toronto, Canada, 2014

FriendsWithYou - Starry Eyes - Inflatable by FriendsWithYou 15 feet H x 10 feet W, 2006

FriendsWithYou – Starry Eyes, 2006, inflatable, 15 feet H x 10 feet W

FriendsWithYou - Mafli heads- Inflatable, 8 feet x 8 feet, 2006

FriendsWithYou – Mafli heads, 2006, inflatable, 8 feet x 8 feet

FriendsWithYou – 2006, inflatable, 10 feet x 8 feet

FriendsWithYou - At This is not a toy exhibition Design Exchange - Toronto, 2014

FriendsWithYou – Installation view, This is not a toy exhibition, Design Exchange, Toronto, Canada, 2014

All images by FriendsWithYou unless otherwise noted.

 

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