Brandon Friend (born 1980) from Queens, New York and Jason Douglas Griffin (born 1981) from DC Metro first met in 2001 when they both enrolled in the Department of Art Honors Program at the University of Maryland College Park. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Friend returned to Queens to complete his MFA at CUNY Queens College and Griffin moved to New York City to pursue his art career.
Friend and Griffin reconnected in New York in 2008 and began sharing a studio space in Long Island City. Their first joint exhibition was in 2011 at Lambert Fine Art in New York’s Lower East Side. The exhibit titled, Identity Crisis, provided the impetus to create work as a pair, propelling the artists to collaborate on an entire body of work. The name Gentleman’s Game came from a painting that the two created depicting two figures engaged a game of a chess, which served as a metaphor for their creative process.
Friend and Griffin, collectively working as Gentleman’s Game have explored the themes of mythology, technology, history and mortality viewed through the murky waters of the Atlantic, the vast ocean that covers nearly the entire surface of their world.
Their partnership is considered unique, but it is their signature technique for bridging the gap between the digital and the handmade that is unlike any other. Both artists work together to create works by combining mixed media in a process that employs various methodologies rooted in painting, printmaking, collage, drawing and image transfer. Images, textures and handmade marks are often scanned, printed and then transferred to the canvas or paper surface using a fixative. The transfer process is facilitated through the application and removal of numerous layers of paper medium allowing different effects begin to develop and variations are created within the moment. Though technology is integral to their process, it is ultimately the artist’s hand that is responsible for the final creative decisions.
In this striking and brutal world imagined by Gentleman’s Game, mankind struggles to hold on to the last vestiges of terrain, both manmade and natural. Man’s tenacious survival instinct and ingenuity give rise to incredible, towering cities built upon the skeletons of long decaying oil rigs and the very few mountaintops able to break the surface of the great, never-ending ocean. The constant struggle for resources and land lead to a proliferation of fantastical modes of transport. Alchemists, utilizing technologies and magic both old and new, create vessels to fill the sea and air, allowing their clans to fight and maybe survive as new Gods watch over their subjects with cool disregard. Among the chaos and despair, the artists still manage to create images of hope. Glimmers of this world’s fragile beauty can be spotted throughout the relentless turmoil.
2015 “Fantastic Planet”, One Art Space, New York City, USA
2014 “Atlantic”, 1155 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan, USA
2014 “Troika”, Project Gallery, Hollywood, CA