Astute and unfettered, Blondey McCoy’s photomontage and installation art come with a distinctly British wit and introduce critical dialogues around personal experience and mental health.
Blondey’s work is an idealised, wistful and loving tribute to his home. The pro-skater, fashion-entrepreneur-turned-artist is as comfortable on the city streets as he is designing for Fred Perry, painting for Burberry, or collaborating with art royalty, Damien Hirst. His delicate and lewd collages capture the bawdy sleaze of Soho streets and a nostalgic Britishness doused in obscure humour that is simultaneously snide and affectionate.
- Solo show, STELLA POPULIS, at Ronchini Gallery, London, 2019
- Thames x Fred Perry Collection, 2018
- Burberry commission, Blondey for Burberry, New York, 2017
- Collaboration with Damien Hirst, Beautiful, Chemically Imbalanced Painting, 2017
- Solo show, Thames, Tits and Teeth at Riflemaker, London, 2016
The deft compositions, powerful use of negative space and re-appropriated 80s porn magazines, newspaper cuttings, banknotes and personal photographs from his studio and family, recall the dawn of photomontage in 1920s Dada Berlin. His work presents a complicated relationship to domesticity that encompasses a personal and national experience simultaneously. The full english breakfast, traditional British china, furniture, flowers, and the Queen, all accumulate into a posh-boy-punk aesthetic that echoes the anti-monarchism of the Sex Pistols 1970s with a measured millennial self-awareness, irony and wit.
Blondey’s three murals for Burberry, exhibited in New York during the 2017 holiday season, crystallise the multidisciplinary and inclusive ethos of his creative practice. Having designed and sold garments since the age of fourteen, fashion and art have always been intertwined for Blondey — existing as different outcomes of the same creative impulse. Blondey’s murals champion a high-end, quintessentially British brand through a medium that opens art to a passerby on the street.
On the side of a towering red-brick Manhattan block on Broadway and 22nd Street, Blondey’s largest mural for Burberry was a 50ft cluster of carefully composed antiques and floating hands performing quaint acts like pouring a milk jug while holding a candelabra and a pocket watch. The pale blue background and pastel tones hold a wry tweeness that seem to promote self-mockery with a classically dry, British self-deprecating humour. A public display of charming playfulness, the work requires only one thing of its viewer: to be in the right place at the right time.
Blondey’s work is a transparent, unabashed autobiography that grapples with obsession, drug-dependency and mental health. His solo show, Us and Chem, transferred his signature cut-and-stick satire onto ten mirrors at the Heni Gallery in Soho in 2017. With antidepressants, cigarettes, books and plants strewn throughout the exhibition, along with a bed and a bath staged in the gallery, the works celebrate the comfort of the familiar while pointing to the acute difficulty of the everyday when suffering from depression. The reflective surfaces evoke the restless vanity and insecurity of our selfie-generation.
Thus, Blondey elucidates the paradox that, while social media offers an open platform to share personal issues and seek help, its pernicious, like-driven culture simultaneously creates them. Beyond being just a depiction, however, the show is a process in itself: the act of creativity is a cathartic exercise for Blondey. The work detaches itself from the approval-seeking frameworks that it criticises, providing a physical encounter for viewers to reflect on their own experiences through an open dialogue with the artist. Shrewd, delicate and salacious, Blondey McCoy’s work is as brash as it is warmly honest, an open exercise in the power and necessity of art to heal.
Be the first to hear about our upcoming projects with Blondey McCoy