Sir Peter Blake (born 1932) is often hailed as the ‘Godfather’ of British Pop Art. His work invokes American 20th century pop culture as viewed through the lens of a British fan, whilst retaining a curious sense of ‘Englishness’ through a obsession with Victoriana and folk tradition. Elvis and Coca-Cola sit alongside Alice in Wonderland accompanied by Victorian school and circus alphabets.
Blake studied at the Royal College of Art and had his first solo show in 1960. As he became attached to the growing Pop Art movement in the UK through exhibiting with his contemporaries such as David Hockney, Blake was given a wider audience by featuring in Ken Russell’s film Pop goes the Easel, broadcast by the BBC in 1962. He works in a variety of media - collage, painting and print-making.
Blake’s most iconic work is the cover for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but he has also produced artwork for Paul Weller, Oasis, Ian Drury, The Who and Band Aid.
His collage works echo both Kurt Schwitters’ found objects and the teenage bedrooms of pop fans plastered with cut out images of their idols from Melody Maker and the NME. The obsessive nature of the collector is ever-present and Blake’s own true passion can also be found in his work. Blake is one of the UK’s biggest fans of British wrestling - which saw its heyday on TV in the 1970s - and wrestlers, both real and fictional, feature heavily in his art.
Blake is a champion of young artists and still holds to his early aim to “make an art as accessible as pop music”.