AND NOW A MASH-UP OF OUR FAVORITE STEREOTYPES FROM PARIS AND L.A. WITH SOME EXPERT ART CRITICISM
“When the time comes, hold my baguette and swim for the surface,” (1999). Widely seen as one of Friend’s most ambitious works, his sensitive rendering of Los Angeles beach-body types received applause from both critics and the public alike. As in so many of his works, Friend used hair to depict the Faustian struggle of swimming in a canal—with the water provoking man’s unfettered nature, while the earth leads irresistibly towards the mathematical precision of a good perm.
“Sacre bleu! C’est le cholos!” (1994). In this work, famed for its liberal bosoms; photo-realistic depiction of the Arc de Triomphe; and mildly racist approximation of ethnic stereotypes, Friend coupled buoyant Los Angeles optimism (depicted whimsically as balloons in flight) to the French culinary obsession with bread and cheese (depicted literally as bread and cheese in flight). The artist spent months agonizing over the mechanics of low-rider suspension on cobblestones, and this obsessive attention to detail is reflected in the meticulous brushstrokes and lively vibrancy of the bouncing automobile.
“Fuck your moon juice!” (2004). Here, Friend captured the visceral manbunned repulsion to the non-organic, gluten rich, yes there’s dairy, joie de vivre which the French are known to intolerably celebrate. Inspired by the inadequacy of juices in curing hangovers, the work was widely seen as a bold statement of rejection towards indoor smoking bans, and was controversial for the inaccurate portrayal of Los Angeles juice bar prices, which are known to be substantially heftier.
Written by Gus Donohoo
Illustrated by Chris Friend