In Golden State , kozyndan are creating a boundary-breaking body of work in honor of both the golden state of California they call home, and humanitarian values they were raised with and must be fostered in order to see our world through these troubled times. The upstairs gallery will feature over ten new paintings and illustrations in mediums kozyndan (let alone few other US-based artists) have never used before, while the basement gallery will be turned into a room-filling installation piece based on the “bunny primitive” ceramic sculptures that previewed at GiantRobot in September 2016.
Kozy, a native of Yamanashi, Japan, and Dan, a native of California, were both deeply affected by the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s victory threw into stomach-churning contrast the social values that were instilled in them by their own cultures, and the fact that the new leader of the federal government was apparently against all of these. Kozy returned to Japan to reconnect with her roots and the iconic paper town outside of Tokyo she was raised in. Dan finally realized why he had always referred to himself as a “Californian” instead of an “American.” Now they’re synthesizing elements of both of their cultures and heritage into a new body of work that harkens not just to the state they live in, but the mindset we must all foster to thrive.
“In Japan, it’s a given that we take care of each other—that people don’t have to go into debt because they get sick and have to go to the hospital,” Kozy says. Dan adds, “In California, too, we don’t take a stand against compassion just because it has a price tag.”
Featuring all the whimsy that kozyndan is known for, the subject matter for the work in Golden State hides the fact that this is their most political, personal and groundbreaking work to date. During her trip back to Japan, Kozy stumbled upon nihonga , a traditional Japanese type of paint that doesn’t have a direct translation in English. Featuring crushed up gemstones and naturally produced pigments that you literally can’t find outside of Asia, the entire new body of work is built out of mediums that most Americans have never seen before in State-side artshows. Ironically, one of the staples of SoCal culture is one-ness with nature, so it’s even more perfect for nihonga to be so natural.
“I wanted to find a way so that every aspect of the work would support companies and people with humanitarian values, rather than indirectly contributing to the Trump administration,” Kozy says.
In addition to the paintings, Golden State will also feature a collection of scrolls and wooden plaques (traditionally called ‘ema’) sourced directly from materials and manufacturers from her hometown. The basement gallery will be built-out in an all-encompassing, tourable installation piece featuring over 100 of Kozy’s “bunny primitive” ceramic sculptures.