Thursday, March 1, 2012
Bill Blair – March 2012 – Artist of the Month
Bill Blair has been creating photomontage images since the early 1980s. Much of his imagery fluctuates between themes of Canadiana and Mexicana - both real and imaginary. Both play off ideas of early-20th-century romantic travel ideals and issues of souvenir culture and national identity in North America.
His earliest influence was the tall-tale or fantasy postcard - popular at the beginning of the 20th century - with its exaggerated images (such as larger-than-life vegetables and giant wildlife) and surrealist qualities - where mysterious juxtapositions are the norm.
In recent work, he often samples human subjects from his extensive collection of vintage real-photo postcards, mixing them - and other elements – with his own background images.
The final montage is photographed and processed on black-and-white film. Then he prints from the negative a single archival silver gelatin print in the darkroom. This fiber print is then hand-tinted with transparent photo oils.
Each photographic print is an edition of one only. They are not duplicated, so each image has only one signed and numbered print ever available of it.
He also creates mixed-media assemblages and wall shrines – described by the Vancouver Sun as “dashboard art” – incorporating vintage guitars and ukuleles.
Blair lives and works in Victoria, BC. He has exhibited his photo-based and assemblage works in numerous group and solo shows regionally and internationally.
Recent commissions include pieces for chef Rick Bayless’s XOCO restaurant in Chicago, and for the Latin Grammy award-winning singer, Lila Downs.
2005 Canada Council for the Arts
2005 British Columbia Arts Council
2003 British Columbia Arts Council
2002 British Columbia Arts Council
Examples of his Canadiana and Mexicana works can be seen at: