painter street artist
Florence Blanchard is a French painter, muralist and screenprinter based in the UK. Blanchard began drawing graffiti in the early 1990’s under the name Ema, and spent ten years based in New York where she graduated with a PhD from New York University in 2008. Her work is directly inspired by her training as a scientist and depicts abstracts molecular landscapes questioning our idea of visual perception.
One of the first women active in the world of French graffiti, she adopted the name ‘Ema’ in the early 1990s and specialized initially in lettering (calligraphy graffiti). Her work reaches the walls and trains of southern France, Barcelona, Paris and the rest of Europe, before it goes to the United States where it will reside in New York for 10 years. Her departure to New York is part of a scientific, identity and artistic process.
This is the first step in a long doctoral research in molecular biology at New York University – another fundamental part of her life (her plastic works sometimes draw inspiration from her research in biology). It is also a return to a city where she spent the first moments of her life and to the roots of the hip-hop movement, «a moral and artistic ideal that has been used as a reference, being a teenager». Her involvement in the underground New York culture and mainly in Brooklyn brings her to various enriching encounters. Ema collaborated with a Japanese breakdance crew – as a dancer. She participates in the key events of American hip hop: BBoy BBQ in Philadelphia, the birthday of Rock Steady Crew, and Harlem Hall of Fame in New York. She also meets the pioneer of experimental cinema Jonas Mekas. But after painting with legends of the genre, such as graffiti artists Lady Pink, and Smith she moved away from the movement to take an interest in pop-surreal and abstract currents. Graffiti, however, preserves the bomb and the wall mount. Whether they belong to public space, galleries or private individuals, the exterior and interior walls that Ema covers with her art are scattered across the North American continent: San Francisco, Trenton, Philadelphia, Miami, New York. In parallel, her work has been exhibited in major capitals in New York, Paris, Berlin and Los Angeles. In 2010 she participated in the Underbelly New York project, the TED Women conference in Washington and Art Basel Miami Beach. She is distinguished in the world of street art by the ‘Dropman’, a character in the form of drop she likes to draw, cut and paste on the walls of Paris, London or New York.