An Interview With: Florence Blanchard
Here at Kolekto, we’ve got our eyes firmly fixed on the blossoming creative scene in Sheffield. So it seemed only natural to chat with one of the city’s most brightly shining stars, painter and muralist Florence Blanchard. We caught up with the French artist to see how 2014 is wrapping up for her.
Hi Florence, nice to talk to you today! What are you up to at the moment?
I’ve just done an exhibition, Night visions, which is my first solo show in Sheffield in almost 3 years. All the work is new and some of it is inspired by my recent visit to Japan, where I completed a 350 m2 mural in Betsukai Hokkaido. The title of the show, Night Visions, refers to the dreamlike compositions that I often painted after dark onto circular black paper. I have been working on this exhibition the whole year and I am very please with it. It includes some of the work I did in preparation for the current ‘Marvelosa’ exhibition at the National Fairground Archive which also started in Sheffield in September and is on until January 2015. This is the perfect conclusion of a year full of really cool projects.
Where does your influence for working as a street artist stem from?
I find it hard to call myself a street artist because I started painting in the streets way before the term ‘street art’ appeared. I became a graffiti writer as a teenager influenced by the world wide phenomenon, which arrived in my home city in the late 80’s – early 90’s. Street art only appeared in the past 10 years.
Some say street art helps make art accessible to the masses, regardless of a person’s background or demographic. For this reason, would you say that it’s more important than work hung on gallery wall?
Honestly, in my opinion they are just two different aspects of the creative world, which are not comparable.
Do you think you’ll be painting murals all your life?
Simple answer: Yes.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing is to be able to travel to exotic places and to never be bored.
Two great reasons… And the worst?
Everyone has different views on what art is or what being an artist means, which often makes things chaotic when you work with people for the first time.
Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration behind the ‘Blob’ and ‘Dropmen’ series?
The Dropmen arose from painting drops and blobs in the background of my graffiti pieces in the 90’s. These friendly characters sit in doorways and public paths witnessing street life as it goes by.
Where did your idea for the Particles murals come from?
The particles themselves are abstracted blob characters, they represent the molecules that our universe is made from. The ‘particle paintings’ generally have a full-bleed finish, signifying the false promise of infinity and matter that has no beginning and no end – a sort of mise en abyme for the viewer.
How do you see art in 2064, fifty years from now?
A bit like now but more futuristic.
What do you hope to achieve through your art?
Where is your ‘creative place’ when you’re most productive?
I like to be on my own to create works – either outside or in the studio. Generally in the evenings, and I avoid checking out blogs or magazines or other potential sources of procrastination.
And finally… If you were a font, which font would you be?
Dingbats with no hesitation.