The first image in the debut monograph of the Los Angeles-based artist duo of Arturo Sandoval III and Samuel Albert Borkson, a.k.a FriendsWithYou — called “We Are FriendsWithYou” (Rizzoli, $55) — is a group of cute little clouds with black beady eyes and tiny red smiles. The characters are from their short film “Cloudy.” “It’s like a very simplistic, reduced form that everybody can relate to,” Borkson explains. “It reminds you of childhood, it reminds you of your creativity, how people can look at the clouds and dream up whatever they want.”
The clouds in “Cloudy” wear the same adorable happy faces that typify other FriendsWithYou characters, which Sandoval and Borkson have depicted in everything from short films to toys to giant immersive installations — all created with the intention of spreading joy. “Just the name, FriendsWithYou, is like our mission,” says Borkson. “It’s about disarming yourselves, accepting all those bad feelings that we all feel, and just coming together to really understand where everybody is coming from and be accepting of yourselves and your honesty.”
Although FriendsWithYou has existed for 12 years, the book only came about recently, after their friend and collaborator Pharrell Williams showed the artists’ work to its publisher Rizzoli. Williams contributed to the text in conversation with the artists, as did the filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. To celebrate its debut, the pair — who will have an exhibition at Dallas Contemporary next year — is offering something collectors can bring home with them: a “Little Cloud” lamp edition, made in collaboration with Case Studyo, through PK Shop. Sandoval calls it a “little friend.”
The “Little Cloud” lamp, $230, is available at paulkasmingallery.com/shop.