Instead of going to school, Blondey spent most of his time soaking up the ever-present cultural references of London’s concrete-casted Southbank skate park. Maybe his confidence stems from an early career in skateboarding. He gathered self-validation through the sport and inspiration from everything; the skateboards, the graphics and the mindset of skate icons like Mark Gonzales.
Though it was skating that allowed Blondey to find ties to himself and make bonds within his environment, he moves with ease between multiple worlds and has five different things on the boil at all times. For him, there is little difference between the designs he makes for his clothing brand Thames London, the collages which end up in galleries or collaborations with Burberry, the artist Damien Hirst or the photographer Alasdair McLellan. They all originate from the same compulsion to create.
Blondey McCoy’s collages – first exhibited at Soho’s Heni Gallery in 2015 – are intimate and filled with personal references. Often, they are a celebration of London’s historic amusement quarter Soho, which is where Blondey has been living for the past years. He is fascinated, maybe even obsessed with the area, its rapid change, its prevalent history, the artists who lived here before him. He devours Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and indeed Damien Hirst.
While earlier works were cut-out and re-assembled from 70s and 80s magazines found in a local store, his recent show ‘Us and Chem’ mixes images exclusively from things photographed in his apartment following a confrontation with isolation and mental health.
The assembly consists of a collection of ashtrays that meet Kirsty’s fish food and sit next to an antique piece of furniture. Maybe they watch Peter Pan or listen to Sir Alan Bennett. On the wall hangs a mirrored candelabra which was a gift from Blondey’s girlfriend.
There is something quite remarkable about Blondey McCoy. His is an authenticity paired with rich references and interests mirrored in both Blondey’s work and personality. It defies easy categorisation based on age or other preconceptions.