Born Borkson: 1979, Sandoval: 1976
Hometown Borkson: Plantation, FL; Sandoval: Havana, Cuba

Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL

Montblanc International, Hamburg, Germany

FriendsWithYou is the fine art collaborative of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, working collectively since 2002 with the sole purpose of spreading the positive message of Magic, Luck, and Friendship™. As artists working in a variety of mediums, including paintings, sculpture, large-scale experiential installations, public playgrounds, published works and live performances, FriendsWithYou’s mission is to affect world culture by cultivating special moments of spiritual awareness and powerful, joyous interaction.

Forging their own brand of post pop visual language a la Takashi Murakami, Arturo Herrera, and Yayoi Kusama, FWY take a spiritual and serene approach to form and figure. Their reductive and simplified use of geometric abstraction always contains a whimsical touch. Blurring the dividing line between perceived “high and low” art, as explained in Murakami’s Superflat essay, the artists exploit other mediums like design and limited edition products from a fine art perspective. FWY’s most important artistic tactic to foster these interpersonal relationships is the use of play. By reinterpreting religious traditions, symbols, and spiritual practices, FWY invert solemn and serious ideas through the act of play to open up a connection to the divine. Many FriendsWithYou works reference toys because they are meant for play, a tool for unstructured free association and interaction. Their sculptures and paintings, inflatables and objects are meant to trigger the buried, neglected urges and yearnings that a seasoned art viewer may not expect to have activated; playfulness, laughter and inquisitiveness, with an end result of feeling connected. Influenced by the simple happiness found in everyday life, FWY’s work is designed to be accessible to all.

FriendsWithYou’s work has been exhibited in solo presentations at venues such as the High Line in New York, Art Basel Miami Beach, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Museum in Berlin, and Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The collaborative’s work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, and DX Canada’s Design Museum in Toronto, among other institutions.

Courtesy of the artist

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