For our second instalment of our Pride Celebration we chatted to screen printing extraordinaire Abby Blanshard about her American roots and her love for Chipotle. You can read the interview below or explore her collection here.
Let's start off with a little bit about your background, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey! I’m Abby - If I were meeting you in person I’d probably make a statement along the lines of… I’m American, but have a really weird accent now. I moved to London about 10 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I’ve always been crafty and creative, but I only started screen printing and designing typography prints about 2 years ago after getting a workshop for Christmas. I work in advertising by day but the place I love being the most is the studio.
What does pride mean to you?
Pride to me is a celebration. A celebration of love. A celebration of differences and a celebration of being your authentic self. I also think it is important to remember why we have pride and the fight that all those before us have put up and also remember why we still need pride. Whilst we are inching closer to equal rights there is still work to do for our transgender brothers and sisters and especially people of colour in the LGBTQ+ community.
How do you feel being a part of the LGBTQ+ community aﬀects you and your design practice?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint how being part of the LGBTQ+ community affects me and my designs. I think it gives me a platform and the ability to use my art and designs to speak up for my community and push us towards equal rights. Recent conversations in America about LBGTQ+ education in schools inspired my Don’t Say Gay prints.
Your bio tells us that you are from Watford, do you still live there?
I do live in Watford still! With my wife and our two tortoiseshell cats, Fudge and Frida!
Can you tell us more about what you do in your day to day?
I work in Advertising as a strategist. So my day to day involves a lot of power point presentations, research, numbers and meetings, but the best parts are working with the creative teams and helping turn a creative proposition into something more than a sentence on a page.
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me. That seems like such a lame answer, but inspiration comes from everywhere. Like I said before political conversations, random walks through London, conversations with friends, other artists in the studios I work from, something that has been said in a work meeting. A lot of different things inspire me and also shape me into the person I am.
What are some of the thoughts or influences that are fueling the direction of your current design work?
I love bold colours so that is the current direction of my work. Lots of neon pink, neon green and neon blue. The sayings come from every day conversations and things. My work is simple in execution but bold in colour.
If you were to give your younger queer self any advice as an artist, what would that be?
Don’t be afraid to be you. You don’t need to fit in - your crowd is out there. You’ll find them. It might take time, but you will and you’ll always have your art to immerse yourself in.
Who are your favourite inspirational artists, makers or thinkers and why?
This is a tough one. I’m not sure I can pick a favourite artist… But from a screen printing point of view Ricky Bryne is who helped me discover my passion for printing and he is my constant cheerleader. Encouraging, offering advise, teaching me and making me a better printer. He is a gem of a human being and his art is also just beautiful.
What’s your go to quick lunch?
If I’m in London - Chipotle
At home a chicken and cheese toastie
Hot or cold weather?
Hot! I hate being cold and would always rather to be a bit warm than cold.
What is the best song to play to shake off your worries?
Anything by Taylor Swift. I’m a massive closet Swiftie. I think my go to Album is 1989 and I’m not sure I can pick a single song. Shake it off might feel a bit too obvious!
For the month of June 22, we will be donating 10% of our Pride Collection sales to Tonic Housing, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on creating inclusive urban LGBTQIA+ affirming retirement communities. We love Tonic Housing and their philosophy, previously working with them by donating a selection of prints to their showroom in August 2021.