The work of William Blanchard is that of simplicity, ambiguity and also at first glance of a lackadaisical carefree concern, however, on closer inspection is actually purposeful without thought and an essential asset to the very nature of his work; an antidote to the buttoned-up, ’shinny facade’ of the corporation that the artist and art world has become and is so fascinated and entranced with.
The influences in Blanchard’s work abound and are easily identifiable from the POP Art movement, from Paolozzi, Jasper Johns, Indiana, Rauschenberg, Peter Blake, Hamilton, Tilson, Peter Philips, Wesselmann, Oldenburg to Bermann, Cornell and Schwitters. The fact that they are so abundant and omnipresent in the work does not diminish nor detract from it, but shouts it’s brash influence and appropriation, taken and usurped as commercial reference to again comment and produce subjective sentiments on modern day, today.
To some extent, William Blanchard’s work has continued where Eduardo Paolozzi’s ‘Bunk’ lectures (1952) left off and has opened up a broad agenda in considering contemporary urban life although through subjective musings, and like the Paolozzi’s BUNK! collages Blanchards work seamlessly integrates base commercial culture and images into his simple ideas, subjective declarations, personal outlook and feelings.
Ironically, where Pop culture in the 50’s was elevated to ‘high art status’ and out of the realm of advertising, entertainment and escapism and, like the elevation of ‘urban art’ and graffiti in the 2000s to the same status (with unparalleled commercial success not seen since Basquait and Harring in the 80’s), Blanchard’s work works the opposite; it challenges the notion of ‘art’ by the works structure, materails, how its built and the seemingly random juxtapositions, lighthearted characteristics and sloganeering metering out the role commercial art plays in contemporary urban life. It is less a comment on society but more a personal reaction to what is going on around the him, a subjective connect on our cultural life.
Art looks not only to significant thought, beauty, magnificence and ideas that transcend our ‘age’ and existence, but also that ‘it’ exists for any number of reasons and, umongst these, which Blanchard excels is self provocation, humour, whimsy and immediate gratification.