Andrew Blanchard seems to find inspiration just about everywhere he looks. The printmaker and Assistant Professor of Art at Converse stumbled across a 1950s-era hymnal at the local Salvation Army and was moved by the basic line drawings. He incorporated those lines with hand drawings, pictures of a young girl and boy, and a childhood of virtual parental neglect to craft two works that made quite a splash in Hawaii.
Blanchard entered the two works, "Fair Weather Family I" and "Fair Weather Family II," in the 2008 Pacific Biennial National Print Exhibition held on the campus of the University of Hawaii. The exhibition opened in October and will run through mid-April, 2009.
"I had actually entered works in this particular exhibit three separate times before and was turned down," said Blanchard in his studio loft office in Converse’s Milliken Fine Arts Building.
In Blanchard’s case, the fourth time was the charm as not only were both works accepted for the 2008 exhibit, they earned the Jurors Award and a purchase award by the State of Hawaii. As such, the works have become part of the permanent collection of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Of the three-hundred works entered, only forty-five were selected from artists throughout the country.
The titles of the works are a reflection of not only Blanchard’s family background but his wife’s as well. "The title is a play on the old saying ‘Fair Weather Friend.’ While I was working on the pieces, the phrase ‘Fair Weather Family’ popped into my mind, and I went with it," he explained. "My wife and I both have people in our families that drift in and out; they’re not solid family members…merely drifters. They come around when it’s convenient for them. In my case, those people are my parents whom I haven’t had contact with in six years."
Writing in HI Art Magazine, Dan Hoskins wrote "’Fair Weather Family’ by Andrew Blanchard reflecks violence in the movement of autumn wind and wholesome activities. Blanchard’s prints are captivating, and deserve the Jurors award, as well as the State’s purchase awards they received."
Blanchard is habitual when it comes to entering his work into exhibitions. His works have been exhibited in over approximately fifteen national and international juried printmaking exhibitions, including the last two Bradley International Printmaking and Drawing Exhibition and the last four Parkside National Small Print Exhibitions. He has won awards for his lithograph-silkscreen combination prints in the Sumei International Printmaking Exhibition and the Delta National Small Print Exhibition. In addition, his prints have been collected throughout the United States, as well as Paris, France and Seoul, South Korea. In 2007, his work was among the only sixty-four pieces selected for a lithography exhibition which began at the Museum of Modern Art for Wales (UK) to showcase the art form to British and other European audiences. The exhibition was later shown at Bankside Gallery (London, England) and the Naugton Gallery at Queen’s University (Belfast, Ireland).
Blanchard is a strong advocate for his students to feel that same rush of energy of entering exhibitions and seeing how their work stacks up against others. H