Tag Archives: william blanchard

The Strand Gallery Review of 2012

2012 has been an eventful year all round with the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Strand Gallery has welcomed many exciting collaborations producing a highly varied schedule of shows, so as another successful year draws to a close it only seemed right to review the year with some of our favourite exhibitions.

This year we’ve had some knockout exhibitions. The gallery was flooded in darkness for Peter DiCampo’s conceptual project Life Without Lights, an exhibition in conjunction with the Ashden Awards. Visitors were given solar powered torches to illuminate his photographs in a unique way, whilst raising awarness for renewable energies and the role they play in Northern Ghana.

Two of our favourite collectives London Independent Photography and the Gay Photographers Network returned to Strand for their annual exhibitions and we joined forces with 3is3 Identity Collective for their Strand Gallery debut exhibition Ubiquitous Grounds.

It’s been tough to narrow down our list but without further a do, here are our five of our most memorable exhibitions from the year past…

5.   Wanderlust by Rohit Chawla.
In July, we welcomed the striking shots of high fashion photographer Rohit Chawla in association with NuGa Arthouse. Wanderlust allowed Chawla to take his skills from working at fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in a different direction through capturing the Rabari tribe from Gujarat. These large scale photographs showed the beautiful detail of their dress with an added intensity through the direct stare of his subjects at the camera lens. Read more about the exhibition in the Independent newspaper feature and our exclusive Q&A with Rohit.

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4.  Skills, Smells and Spells by Toby Deveson.
Travel photographer Toby Deveson brought the joys of the humble darkroom to The Strand Gallery in an exhibition of distinctive black and white shots. Deveson’s show chronicled his travels and 22 year career whilst celebrating the power and atmosphere of analogue photography. This beautiful exhibition of hand printed photographs was part was the celebratory outcome to a crowd funding campaign proving that film’s not dead.


3.  She-Bop-A-Lula curated by Dede Millar
All our stars alligned in this epic exhibition in aid of Breakthrough breast cancer in conjunction with International Women’s Day. Female icons of music world were captured on film by female photographers in this incredible show, uniting iconic figures of the past including Debbie Harry and Ella Fitzgerald as well as contemporary stars like Amy Winehouse and Florence Welch, appealing to the inner feminist in us all! Read more about She Bop in the Guardian.

She-Bop-A-Lula - Women in Pop photo exhibition - Debbie Harry
With consumerism and pop art as his inspiration, Blanchard’s show consisted of colourful and lively paintings and collages. This exhibition truly captured Blanchard’s witty personality and with it brought a whole host of celebrity types and press buzz to The Strand Gallery. Read more about the exhibition via It’s Nice That and a Q&A with Dazed Digital.

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1. Creatures in Colour: Sketchbooks from Faris Badwan
Horrors frontman Faris Badwan switched his focus from the stage to the sketchbook with an exhibition of his stunningly individual ink and watercolour pieces. His work took you on a journey through the processes of his unique creative vision and beyond. More about this show in the Independent and a Q&A in Dazed Digital.


So there we go 2012 done and dusted. We look forward to the coming year and some brand new equally exciting shows. Merry Christmas and see you back at The Strand Gallery in 2013!


Own the Artwork: This is William Blanchard

It’s the final week of our exhibition ‘This is William Blanchard‘ and your last chance to buy an exclusive one-of-a-kind piece from the show. With prices starting at £50 ex VAT, this is a truely unique opportunity to take home an original piece of art at an affordable price.

Here are some of our favourites…

2000 Light Years from Home     
William Blanchard
27 x 40 x 8 cm
Wood, Collage, Gold Leaf
£850 ex VAT

Lucinda, Strand Gallery Manager

“Before we launched The Strand Gallery, I worked for Proud Galleries and helped to organise numerous exhibitions on The Rolling Stones. It’s great to see a fresh perspective on these musical icons – I love Will’s approach. It’s a unique little piece in a beautiful antique gold box-frame; a real one-of-a-kind. I love how it feels both futuristic and retro at the same time.”

Warhol’s Pop Art Soup
William Blanchard
45 x 64 cm
Screen Print on Cyclus Offset Paper, 250 gsm
£50 ex VAT

Liz Thornhill, Head of Press – Proud Galleries

“The Pop Art Soup prints are definitely my favourite in the show. They are so quintessentially Warhol and radiate Blanchard’s extraordinary admiration for Andy Warhol and the pop art movement. I love how the prints come in a range of colours (Red, Black, Green and Pink), especially the luminous pink, as it exemplifies Warhol’s colour palette perfectly! The prints are so fun and so affordable that anyone can own these unique pieces of art and find a place for them in their homes.”

2 Marlyins with Butterflies, William Blanchard, 2012, 74 x 112 cm,
Collage and Varnish on Wood, £2500 ex VAT

Jessica Tamman, Strand Gallery Assistant

“I came across 2 Marylins with Butterflies when I was researching my first blogpost for the Blanchard show; it was  definitely love at first sight! It is an unique piece that has a wonderful character and a beautiful aesthetic. The piece incorporates every aspect of Blanchard’s style and technique, from the use of collage and found objects, to the quotations of his idols such as Blake and Warhol. I love the way Blanchard makes use of an old door as a surface – and embellishes it with collage – in order to create a new form that echoes his love for art and his respect for his predecessors.”

The exhibition finishes on Saturday 4th August. For further sales information or to request a catalogue please contact info@thestrandgallery.co.uk

This is William Blanchard: The Best of the Private View

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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with William Blanchard on ‘This is William Blanchard’

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The Strand Gallery caught up with artist William Blanchard (aka Wild Cat Will) on our current exhibition, This is William Blanchard.

How old were you when you started making art? What is your heritage?

I first started making art when I won a painting competition at the age of 8 years old and won a beach ball as a prize, although i can’t remember what the paintings subject matter was (a traction engine I think!!). Art was my favourite subject at school and about the only thing I was good at.

After leaving college and failing to get into Chelsea to study graphics due to a lack of interest, I have spent the last 30 years playing drums in various outfits globally,with a stint as an assistant art director on video promos during the 1980’s.

Four years ago I presented my first proper art exhibition called “Assemblage” at MEN Gallery in Redchurch St after finding my way back into making art through assemblage and stencils and box framed pieces.

Heritage wise ,my family always encouraged me. My older brother is a painter and my two younger brothers are professional photographers.

On your blog you speak of a ‘hoarding gene’ – how do you feel this has influenced your work? Do you feel your upbringing has considerably contributed to your style, technique and roughness of work especially as you speak of having lived in a ‘bohemian chaos’?

I have inherited a hoarding gene from my mother who never throws anything away,hence resulting in a house full of stuff that is an incredible archive of her life, and I have always had a magpie eye, collecting objects, packaging and signs.My upbringing was in a wonderfully chaotic environment, nature playing an important role, and a family home that gradually turned into an animal sanctuary, as well as the hoarding problem, so every time I visit the family home I can still find a box of magazines or broken toys, or something that inspires me to incorporate it into a collage.

Even now I will pick up stuff off the road, a discarded toy or bottle top however small and insignificant, it holds a significant interest to me and I will hoard it with my collection of objects that end up being used at some point in my work.

I have had a stall for the last 4 years at Spitalfields Antique market and this is part of my process for finding inspiration in my work, combing boot fairs and flea markets for unusual objects or images that I will usually incorporate in to my assemblage pieces,or find an image that I will use as a print.

I love surface and patina, rust and dust, paint that has weathered away and objects that have seen better days. Part of my process is to leave some of my works out doors and let the elements do their worst.

My life feels like a living collage and everywhere I have ever lived ,my environment ends up a part of me,and me of it

Individual vs. Artist – Which piece do you consider as your most personal/individual or do you feel that the individual and the artist should not be separate?

Every single piece of work that I create is personal to me and I consider myself to be an individual and an artist! Therefore I cannot distinguish between art an the individual as it is so personal to me making art, each piece is a journey and has a life of it’s own and hopefully to be owned by another individual who will get pleasure from it forever!

Could it be suggested that your work goes against the institution? You often take more than just inspiration from pop artists such as Warhol. Have you ever had any negative responses to your art due to this? Does the fact you re-work these iconic artworks mean that you have a dislike for them or are you adding to them in favour of appreciation?

I have always been a rebel and find institution to be something that should be kicked against, be it society in general or especially the people in charge of ruling society or institutions as a whole.

Taking inspiration from Warhol (and others including Peter Blake and Joseph Cornell,Wallace Berman,Ben Nicholson and Jasper Johns and too many to mention) is one thing ,but for this show I am taking Warhol’s idea of packaging, banality and repetition, along with reproducing works by Jasper Johns and homages to Peter Blake, stealing elements of their work and trying to take it forward by adding my own individual interpretation.

I have been massively inspired and influenced by Warhol as much as everyone in modern society has, as I believe he was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century so re-working his ideas is down to my appreciation of them.

I hope to find out if the response to my work is positive or negative when they are viewed by the public in general (hopefully not negative!).

I have a great love for pop art, even if it was original and groundbreaking at the time, but maybe now has become institutionalized, and perhaps I am repeating them but hopefully in an original way. I feel that is for others to decide.

On your website it says you focus more on what is around you and less on society, why is that? Do you find society’s influence to be a negative thing? However there are some obvious responses to society in your work, which sometimes appear violent. What is your opinion on society?

As I mentioned previously, I am a bit of an anarchist and a rebel, and I believe punk rock was the most important movement in the last century to shake society and make it re-evaluate itself.

Punk still influences me in attitude, musically and artistically, which is reflected in the immediacy and do-it-yourself ethic of my work. I focus in on my inner thoughts as well as taking in the world around me visually for stimulation and ideas. So in that respect society has an influence through television, film, radio, internet as well as advertising and consumerism, some of which I am for but most advertising and consumerism I am against and find it to be a massively negative thing, not society itself per se.

You appear to have added colourfully to one of your ‘Unfair’ pieces in the collection – is this a particular response to something? Does it target a social matter or is it a personal emotion?

My “Unfair” piece is a picture of a target that I have colourfully embellished because I love the variation of applying colour.

It represents the unjust feeling around the world at the moment, and especially in this country, without being overtly political.

So it is a mixture of personal emotion, the target is subliminal in that it represents a faceless individual, (but I love the wordplay and imagery of targets and you will see them repeated as an icon throughout my work) but that it represents the malevolent carnival of the misuse of power which turns to absolute corruption and in that respect affects the individual as a social matter.

What in particular interests you about faces, skeletons, and the human body in general? They appear to feature regularly in your work.

What interests and fascinates me about faces, skeletons and the human body is the fact that we are all human beings with a face, a skeleton and a physical body! There is the idea of our own mortality, that we have a soul, (or possibly not in some cases!) life after death, although we leave a skeleton behind, having no further use for it.

And our faces are many faceted,with different expressions and sides to character,the face becoming an image which becomes iconic or eternal, we express our emotions facially as well as verbally.

What is a soul and what does it look like? We live our lives externally physically and internally with our introspective thoughts.These are things that I think about constantly.

Essentially whether rich or poor, whatever denomination of human being, we are all the same underneath the skin. I love the imagery of skeletons and skulls,and the idea that we are all walking talking skeletons!!!

The circus is a recurring theme, what is the significance of the circus for you?

The pageantry and imagery of the circus is appealing to me, especially circus posters: clowns, tigers, freaks, the gypsy carnival alternative lifestyle, plus the costumes, colours and the funfair attraction sideshow all excites my imagination.

What is your opinion on a society that focuses so much on ‘winning’? Do you feel it is ever possible to ‘win’?

I am constantly struggling to survive and live and succeed and win, to make great exciting art with wit and beauty. Life can be looked at as a competition, to get ahead, to compete in the rat race. Is succeeding the same thing as winning in the end? But to win you must first be in the competition and always trying to do your best and beat the rest in the eternal contest!

23.07.12 – 04.08.12
Monday to Sunday 11:00 – 6:00
Entrance free

Contact info@thestrandgallery.co.uk to request an exhibition catalogue

COMING UP… The Strand Gallery Presents ‘This is William Blanchard’

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The Strand Gallery is proud to present, ‘This is William Blanchard’, a vibrant insight into the work of London Based artist William Blanchard. Dwelling upon the semiotics of pop culture, Blanchard works in conjunction with already formulated interpretations to create an innovative response to pop art. Blanchard’s art is a mixture of simplicity and complexity, and at first glance it appears to have a carefree approach, yet after closer inspection, a more purposeful technique is revealed. Each piece has a sense of spontaneity, yet is carefully controlled, without being overly worked.

Blanchard’s work is heavily influenced by artists such as Paolozzi, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, Peter Blake, Joseph Cornell and Richard Hamilton. These influences are omnipresent in his work while his unique use of materials dominates his pieces. Blanchard plays on the bright graphics, collage and do-it-yourself aesthetic of pop art; he is able to work with carnival colours and shooting targets. He juxtaposes this with found, aged objects to create an array of pieces that demonstrate a personal, yet exciting and inviting response to his surroundings.

Growing up in a home where nothing was thrown away, from the beginning Blanchard was familiar with the value of found objects. Famously self described as having the ‘hoarding gene’, any and every object had a value and a meaning. Blanchard describes himself as a ‘collector’ with his work being directly inspired by his childhood bedroom, or ‘museum of artefacts’, an ‘exhibition of weirdness’. Blanchard is able to juxtapose this diverse collection of objects, in order to create new forms that are stamped with his unique, distinctive style. Culture and society are contrasted to create brash yet meaningful pieces, achieved by combining personal emotion with social criticism.

Blanchard’s exceptional talent is visible through his ability to transform a variety of ideas, materials and objects, which contain personal meanings and messages.

25th July – 4th August at the Strand Gallery
Monday – Sunday 11:00 – 6:00
Entrance free

contact info@thestrandgallery.co.uk to request an exhibition catalogue