Monday, November 16, 2009


I recently had the pleasure of contributing a small written piece to THE UNKNOWN PORTRAITS, a new book of illustrations and stories by the art duo kozyndan! They are friends-of-friends, but I'm still not quite sure how I managed to sneak into the project. I just received my copy this past weekend, and it is a great looking book!

Originating from a found photo album unearthed in a Venice Beach thrift shop, kozyndan were inspired to create imagined personae documenting the essence of these lost photographs. This clothbound hardcover is comprised solely of small, detailed graphite portraits, each piece captures the surreal humour and irreverence that has become a trademark of kozyndan's distinctive style of artwork.

Illuminating select portraits are short stories inspired and imagined by a community of artist friends and writers including Pasha Malla, Mark "frosty" McNeill, Ryan Sands, Mariko Tamaki, Maggie MacDonald, Nick Flanagan and Porous Walker.

Hardcover. 8.5 x 8.5 inches.
150 pages. Over 100 illustrations.
You can buy a copy direct from their site!

For my part, I chose to tackle an illustration titled "Samurai Sam"... Their portrait of "Sam" features a charmingly lame white guy with horn-rimmed glasses, tombstone teeth wearing a yukata, and flanked by a stream of sakura swirls:

I decided to write up a faux-obituary for this imagined dude, with a number of self-indulgent Japan nerd references that folks will hopefully enjoy. Extra points to anyone who recognizes the last name:

It was a real treat to be a part of what turned out to be a lush and creepy book of illustrations. As part of the project, Kozy did small portraits of each contributor! Here is me, looking like a mentally-disturbed individual:

They even sent me the original art for my wall!

The pieces (done in pencil) are all really surreal, trippy and charming. (How do they get these details with just a pencil?) Here are a few of the other choice portraits:

Many thanks again to kozyndan for making me a part of this project, and hope folks check it out!


Unknown said...

The black dude is my favorite...It looks like the last thing you might see before your head explodes!! :)

Dan said...

You named his kids after Wolverine and his lady love? That's like crossed-wires nerdity!

Burek said...

Very nice pencil art! Does the artist have his own site or something?

JE said...

Big ups to you Ryan. Oddly enough, I was familiar with Kozyndan way back. I've actually got one of their prints on my wall.

Funny how these things can eventually converge.

Ryan S said...

@vioxxfact: Yeah, he looks very placid but also like he's about to take you on a DMT trip

@Dan: hahaha, good catch! One of hopefully a few REALLY DORKY references

@Burek: yeah totally, it's actually an illustrator/painting duo (kozy & dan) in Southern California, their works have been seen and used all over, lots of packaging/ad campaigns etc. check 'em out:

@JE: Thanks dude! I remember first hearing about them back in Giant Robot a while ago. I still dont know exactly how I got asked to be in the book, but I'm happy to be a part of it :)

Mistressmybae said...

That's awesome! Congratulations!

Wangie said...

Oh man, have I told you how jealous I am of you? I am soooooo jealous. I <3 kozyndan.

zytroop said...

So Japan will reclaim lost colonies in the future?

Ryan S said...

@michele: :)

@Angie: Thanks Angie!

@zytroop: That's right! after China's historic rise and the Final Intifada War, Japan reclaims the lots gems in the greater east-asian co-prosperity sphere crown.

Anja Flower said...

You look very delighted to be ingesting that item, in a quiet sort of way. Hm. Congratulationss.

Anja Flower said...

Or are you merely applying the item to your face? Is it perhaps a walrusian moustache?

Ryan S said...

@ryan: delighted... or psychotic?
here is the original picture kozy based her drawing on: