Working collaboratively since 2002, FriendsWithYou is a fine art duo consisting of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, making work solely to communicate “magic, luck and friendship”. Their latest venture involves a 30-foot-wide balloon for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
Their signature character, Little Cloud, is making its biggest physical appearance yet. Although Little Cloud can be found in the form of public sculptures, lamps and cushions, it is the first time the friendly character will actually fly over New York City’s cityscape. On the balloon, the artists have been quoted by the New York Times to say that “culture has a way of materialising what we need, and what we need is uplifting and optimistic”. Without a doubt this happy cloud with rosey cheeks and large doughy eyes will not fail to uplift even the most cynical of us.
Samuel additionally says “Little Cloud is a simplified symbol of light and hope, a happy little gift”. As a testament to this, I can reveal that Little Cloud makes me smile on a daily basis as it appears on a Popsocket on the back of my phone from Somerset House’s Peanuts exhibition.
The annual Thanksgiving Day spectacle draws around 3.5 million people as well as 50 million viewers via television and web screens according to the parade’s executive producer, Susan Tercero. Little Cloud is the seventh balloon designed by contemporary artists for the “Blue Sky Gallery” series. Previous years have seen the likes of Jeff Koons and Kaws given the balloon-designing nod.
The balloon measures about 22 feet tall and will rise between 30 to 40 feet in the air depending on the force of the wind. With the guidance of 38 handlers, FriendsWithYou is bringing the upscaled character of Little Cloud to the joy of the Macy’s parade-goers on 17 November.
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