At a time where the UK seems fractured – from the immigration crisis to an ever-increasing threat of terrorism – it’s easy to get swept away in the bad news, but London artist Blondey McCoy is determined to end the year on a high. To do so, he’s paying homage with a love-letter to London with his show HOME IS THE HERO. Taking its title from an old newspaper headline about the war, HOME IS THE HERO, opening tomorrow, is an organic extension of THAMES A.D., which he exhibited earlier this year in Soho.
“Doing this show is very personal to me, it’s been a good year (for me) and I want to end it on something good”, he says. "This one has a lot more of a personal touch to it, like handwriting, and touches on negative space in a bit more depth. But all in all – because of how closely timed the two shows were – they explore a similar theme of patriotism, through the medium of British monarchy, currency and indecency.”
Staying close to his satirical and anti-monarchical take on England with an "If it ain't broke, Pritt-Stick some tits to a board and whack it in a frame” mentality of mining 70s erotica mags for his now-signature style, viewers can expect to see smutty collages that shout “How to Pick Up More Girls”, alongside handwritten ramblings scrawled over £50 bills, co-opted Royal Mail stamps, skate stickers and old newspaper cuttings.
But while London may set the backdrop to the show, HOME IS THE HERO is, at its core, about family. “It’s about family and the environment you're put in; both things being debatable whether you can choose or not”, he tells us. With the centrepiece of the show being a foray into film work for which McCoy captured his grandparents talking about their immigration from their native Lebanon. "I always have a camera in my bag – it’s something I take from my dad, I just like to document everything – so I started filming and before I knew it I had almost an hours' worth of footage, cut down to a 12 minute short, which contextualised the whole show,” he explains.
Whether it’s through his homegrown clothing brand, Thames, his ties to London skate empire/family, Palace, or through his artwork, McCoy’s appreciation for the city around him doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon, an attitude which – in such uncertain times – never goes astray.
Catch HOME IS THE HERO from December 11 to December 18 at the Heni Gallery in Soho. Prints available from here or follow Thames on Instagram here