blondey mccoy | artist, skateboarder

He’s an artist, a pro skater, a designer and a model, and now he’s been published too with HENI Publishing releasing his book Us and Chem, a companion piece to his exhibition of the same name that tackled mental health and chemical dependency. Meet Blondey McCoy…

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

About 6 months ago my girlfriend and I moved our cardboard boxes into roughly the right places in Beautiful Graveyard (Belgravia) and have been in the country about 3 days a month since then. It’s a funny part of town, I’m back with my people; the flash Arabs! We had to fill in multiple choice forms when we moved in about which country we are ambassadors of and all of that nonsense… we must be the most boring people on our street. I was worried about burglaries until I saw that Monty Burns next door has his K9 unit on patrol all night, so now I just leave the door open.

How did you first get into skateboarding?

Through watching television. I should probably just ask my mum as I honestly can’t remember not skateboarding, but I think I basically went from Spongebob Squarepants to Jackass. Must have been about 9.

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Why do you think skate culture has been co-opted by the fashion industry in such a huge way?

Because proper skateboarding is something you cannot fake and authenticity can be a hard thing to come by in the fashion world. Also this time around that ‘co-opting’ has been more embraced than rejected by skateboarders; they enjoy having their moment on the catwalk and the fashionables get to believe they have a clue. Everyone’s a winner.

Your first book ‘Us and Chem.’ is being published this October, tell us a bit about it and about the exhibition you held at the HENI Gallery.

It’s a book for my exhibition of the same name that I put on last July. It really meant a great deal to me because creating the works was such a therapeutic process and the show acted as a full stop to a period of my life that I was very unhappy in, and very muddled up in chemical dependency. Thankfully a year on I am through the other side but the sentiment still rings true. After receiving hundreds of postcards from all different types of people who saw the show I realised how relatable an issue it is and how important it is to be able to talk about it. So I took great care in making the book perfect, hence the year interval.

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You also run your own clothing brand Thames, does your approach to designing clothes differ to the way you approach making art?

Very much so, I’ve said it before but it’s really the best way I can put it. I only ever did Thames because the art I was making at the time suited clothing and stickers more than it did suit walls. Over time I’ve made art with clothing in mind and art with walls in mind, but with art I feel encouraged to go bigger and more conceptual and take risks, whereas clothes, being mass produced, do have to sell. A tee shirt is a tee shirt is a tee shirt and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel less limited in making art which is why I need to do both.

Describe your perfect day in London.

To spend a full day in London at all would be perfect. I’d love to wake up late and have breakfast on the roof with the lady, then wander around Kensington Gardens, work in my Soho Studio, go and see Mark Sullivan at lunch on Cecil Court, maybe go and watch ‘Here We Go Again’ again, have a swim and a read at the spa in Soho, then back to the studio to work until it’s late enough for a fun walk home through Green Park.