Tell Me A Story 4: kozyndan from 2001 to now
The first day kozyndan walked into Giant Robot, they were students at Cal State Fullerton. This was perhaps in 2001, soon after the store opened. The couple led by the more talkative Dan, showed me a portfolio of drawings including a panoramic rendition of their apartment. We probably discussed their process since I doubt I knew what else to talk about, but their talent was undeniable. The drawing style wasn’t perfect contours, it had some artistic license. The color choices took the image to new places. It’s obvious their apartment wasn’t many shades of pink. A week or so later, they came to shoot photos at the Giant Robot Store for a new panoramic and I had no idea that I’d be included. I’m wearing an old jersey shirt that says “Oxnard” which I picked up at the Buddhist Temple yard sale. I’m scratching my head in some kind of nervousness. It’s me.
The image captures the early look of the Giant Robot Store along with robots. I see items by Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara and Groovisions. I see the Superflat banner and books that are now out of print and pricey. The “ladders” that became the front display are leaning against the wall behind me. Not too long after their completed image, I remember Kozy walking in and saying, “it’s different” perhaps in some kind of disappointment.
Within a year, we held a kozyndan exhibition at the shop. What was art like in 2002? Unlike these days at least in Los Angeles, there weren’t multiple exhibitions by younger artists every weekend. Most people in a youth demographic weren’t looking to purchase art, it was something relatively new. Art fans didn’t exist like they do today. On that day, people showed up and comfortably adopted art. It was something new to us.
11 years later, we’re exhibiting kozyndan again. In between time, I’ve shown kozyndan in various capacities while our lives and careers grew on separate trajectories. Now, kozyndan creates art and illustrations so they can travel the world. The GR shops continue to grow pop culture and art. If kozy says, “it’s different”, I’d like to think although “it” looks different, we’re the same kids from 2001 – our futures still mysterious and hopefully intertwined.
I stitched together images. This isn’t quite how it looks as a whole, but you get the idea.