Featured Artist: Manny Blair

 
   "Bramasole" Acrylic and enamel on printed fabric; 150x130cm

"Bramasole" Acrylic and enamel on printed fabric; 150x130cm

 

 
   "Dystopia" Acrylic and enamel on plywood panel; 115x80cm

"Dystopia" Acrylic and enamel on plywood panel; 115x80cm

 

   "Two Farmers" Acrylic on plywood panel; 60x40cm

"Two Farmers" Acrylic on plywood panel; 60x40cm

Manny Blair was born in 1971 in the north west coastal resort of Blackpool, UK. He grew up in a house full of books which instilled an early appreciation of creative thinking.

After school he attended Blackpool & the Fylde College studying art and design. He acknowledges this, with hind-sight, as the most important part of his art education. He enrolled at Cyprus College of Art, where he exhibited in a private gallery for the first time and received a favourable critique of his work in a national newspaper.

On his return to the UK, he embarked on his Fine Art degree at Sunderland University where he studied alongside Richard Billingham. Not having banished his wonderlust, Manny took advantage of of an exchange program and spent his second year at East Carolina University, NC.

After graduation, he joined the workforce and was producing very little art. Marriage and fatherhood jolted him back on track and, after eighteen months of consideration, returned to his studies at Manchester Metropolitan University in the Landscape Architecture program. Immediately after obtaining his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree, he decided to combine his art and design degrees with a Masters degree in Public Art. It was here he studied under Jason Minsky who taught him a level of professionalism and rigour in art that he had not previously experienced. Mannyowes Jason a huge debt of gratitude.        

New opportunities presented themselves in 2008 when he had a job offer as a Landscape Architect in Calgary, Canada. Six months apart from his wife and two young sons enabled tentative roots to be put down in Alberta, where he and his family now live in De Winton, AB.

In 2013 during a severe episode of depression, Manny was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD). For Manny, this was life changing. It meant he could start to understand what and why things happened and far from being ‘disorders’, he now regards them as “…..bloody super-powers!”. 

It was then that he started to understand why his art was so haphazard, not only in subject matter and themes, but media, influences and technique.

Unsurprisingly, his creative influences are many and disjointed. They include art world behemoths such as Francisco Goya, Marcel Duchamp and Francis Bacon; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Richard Neutra in architecture; Johann Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane, Pavel Datsyuk in team sports, to George Orwell, Joy Division and Chuck Yeager.

 
 

Check out more of Manny's stunning art at http://www.mannyblair.com/.