Sir Peter Blake

Born: 1932

Sir Peter Blake

Born in Dartford, England, Peter Blake graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1956. Blake's early work is dominated by two major subjects: fantastic scenes from the world of the circus and naturalistic paintings with autobiographic elements. In style and content both types of pictures paved the way for English Pop Art.

Thanks to a Leverhulme scholarship, Blake had the opportunity to travel through Europe from 1956 to 1957. In 1959, inspired by reproductions by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, Blake began to paint collage-like pictures of pop musicians and film stars and to produce assemblages made of recycled material, postcards and other items.

Alongside his collages, Blake also worked with the medium of imitation: Painted collages, imitated pin-up-boards and locker doors, enlarged, painted postcard motifs and painted adaptations of posters appeared. The cover design for the Beatles album 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (1967) was one of his first successes.

In 1975 Blake was one of the founding members of the 'Brotherhood of Ruralists'. His imagery changed under the influence of this group of artists which further developed the combination of sophistication and naivety, typical of Blake's style today; childhood memories, fairy tales and elves, depicted in realistic style using techniques of the old masters, became his favourite subjects. Nowhere was this made clearer than at his enormously successful retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London.

In order to produce his prints he works with one of the leading print studios, Brad Faine's Coriander Press. Blake maintains a close involvement with the process until he is confident that his artistic objective has been achieved. Today his style retains the same magic as always, producing work which is still as captivating as his work of 30 years ago.

Sir Peter Blake's work reflects his fascination with all streams of popular culture, and the beauty to be found in everyday objects and surroundings. Many of his works feature found printed materials such as photographs, comic strips or advertising texts, combined with bold geometric patterns and the use of primary colours. The works perfectly capture the effervescent and optimistic ethos of the sixties, but are also strikingly fresh and contemporary. There is also a strain of sentimentality and nostalgia running throughout his work, with particular focus towards childhood innocence and reminiscence. Blake is renowned for his connection with the music industry, having produced iconic album covers for the Beatles, Paul Weller, The Who, and Oasis.

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