Camden Close - Up: David Blandy
Love Camden loves its local talent. We aim to celebrate everything cultural in the borough, from Hampstead to Kilburn, from the British Library to that little café around the corner - we are always out to show what Camden has to offer. As part of this we launched our Camden Close-Up series: interviews with artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and downright interesting figures that live, work or are inspired by the borough.
This month we interviewed David Blandy, an artist who works with video in the digital world, from the YouTube tutorial and music videos, to television series, anime and the narrative sections of computer games, highlighting our relationship with popular culture and investigating what makes us who we are.
- What would you would do if you weren’t doing this? What would your parallel life look like?
I worked in a computer game shop for a couple of years, working my way up to assistant manager, so I guess that could have been a possibility. But more likely is I would have ended up doing music somehow, producing tracks for people. I was in a band for years, and in the end was sampling a lot, making my own beats, so maybe that.
- What do you think is most important: luck, chance, opportunity or hard-graft?
I think that all of the above have an effect. Hard-graft is probably the most important, just putting the hours in thinking and making work, but we mustn’t underestimate the power of privilege, that many in the art world don’t even need to make money from their art to survive so you always have to work that much harder to make sure your work is as good as it can be. Then it’s the luck of certain people seeing it.
- What has been your most career defining moment to date and why?
Career-defining moments in art are pretty nebulous- being asked to have your first solo show, getting a review, having a conversation that leads to an interesting collaboration. Really, the most career-defining moment was deciding to film myself lip-syncing to the Wu Tang Clan’s Bring Da Ruckus back at art school, as that video became something that was shown in lots of group shows, which lead to people approaching me to do all sorts of different projects.
- What are you most proud of and what are you least proud of……and why?
I’m most proud of surviving as an artist for the past 14 years. It’s a precarious existence where you never know from one month to the next where exactly the money is coming from. But somehow, through commissions, funding, a bit of teaching and occasional sales (video art doesn’t really sell), I’ve managed to keep food on the table for the kids.
I’m not proud of having to be away from home so much, travelling to where the jobs are.
- What does Camden mean to you?
I grew up in Kilburn, and Camden for me was getting on the “free train” (what used to be the North London line, now the Overground) to Camden Market on the weekend, looking for grunge, hip-hop and soul records and bootleg T-shirts. Camden was where the cool stuff happened as a teenager in the 90’s.
Artist bio (please produce below):
David Blandy lives and works in Brighton & London, UK has exhibited at venues nationally and worldwide such as Tate Modern, London; Bloomberg Space, London; Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki; The Baltic, Gateshead; Turner Contemporary, Margate; Spike Island, Bristol; Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany; PS1, New York and Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China.
Websites and social media: