Earlier this week I had the privilege of speaking with James Blanchard, one of ArtProfiler’s artist contributors, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate at SUNY Plattsburgh, who is exhibiting some of his works at the university’s senior art exhibition which opens today. In order to qualify for the exhibit, students must go through a selection process during their sophomore or junior year of study which requires applying and being accepted into SUNY’s BFA program.
SUNY is situated in a unique area of Plattsburgh, NY, which Mr. Blanchard describes as a mellow, outdoorsy town. The university is home to approximatey 8,000 students with an in-depth art curriculum that boasts a fine reputation for producing talented creatives. The campus itself is called a “museum without walls” because every building is adorned with paintings and sculptures.
Mr. Blanchard will be presenting twenty original works including ten monotypes and ten illustrations. Some of his favorites include Clairvoyance which is an abstract interpretation of human expression in a moment of clarity when looking through darkness; a self portrait which reveals Mr. Blanchard’s close connection to the stars, especially the Orion nebula; and a monotype print entitled Balance, the personification of the human body with a cosmic vibe that symbolizes a moment of peace, moving back to one’s core.
From a very young age, Mr. Blanchard enjoyed the arts and filled notebook after notebook with doodles. He describes these early works as “outside art,” defining the term as untrained art that hasn’t had the restrictions of academia imposed upon it. He didn’t truly know he was an artist until he began his studies at SUNY where his areas of concentration are graphic design and printmaking. It was here that he learned how to not only be a better technical artist, but also where he has had the opportunity to study art history and the history of art production. When it comes to graphic design, Mr. Blanchard prefers to remain on the illustrative side, decorating the space with his own drawings, many of which can be seen on a regular basis here on ArtProfiler.
The future is bright for this young artist! Mr. Blanchard is currently applying for jobs with graphic design firms and is contemplating opening his own studio. A residency or internship is not off the table either, as he has considered moving to a city like Boston, New York City or Portland, Maine, where the art populations are bursting at the seams. Perhaps he’ll go to graduate school in the future, but right now his focus is to make money and get some real-life experience off campus.
I want the viewer of my work to feel just as cynical, hopeful, outraged, sentimental and human as I do when I create it. I hope for the work to resonate with them on more than a visual level. My inspirations range from politics, the mysteries of the natural world, and the inner workings of human emotion and thought. The mediums of printmaking and digital art have allowed me to achieve this.
In my digital work I try to create straightforward images that clearly represent what I’m trying to say to the viewer. Whether it is a hopeful message or a societal critique, I use symbolism to try to help the viewer to find the meaning of the work. In these pieces, even when the context is negative I want to create an aesthetically pleasing subject within the composition, without anything more than an image and a title, the viewer can understand my stance on a topic or my love for a positive cause. These works are often inspired by current events, but at times I try to convey the simple, raw beauty of existence, even if there is an underlying political or social tone. I believe graphic art has the ability to reach large audiences and have a positive impact on the world.
In printmaking I have moved away from the obvious. My work is lacking symbolism, in the conventional sense, and is non-representational. This work is my attempt to give to the viewer what I think is a visual rendering of the inner workings of human emotion. Through this work I feel I am really able to show my true self and allow the viewer to see more deeply into themselves.
SUNY’s senior art exhibition is open April 7 – May 19 and is located on the SUNY Plattsburgh State Art Museum in the Burke Gallery.
If you are interested in purchasing James Blanchard’s works, please contact us.
Cover art: Wealth, James Blanchard, Monotype Print, 22×15”