Peter Blake was born in 1932, and after his formal training at the Gravesend School of Art, then at the Royal Academy of Art, he broke away from tradition, producing work from 1960 on that would come to define the British Pop Art Movement. He came to be known as the Grandfather of Pop Art, and his art achieved iconic status with his sleeve for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Blake’s art draws on imagery from the popular culture of the past and present, as well as from the canon of fine art, thus creating an alternative, more democratic visual aesthetic. He freely mixes the ‘high’ with the ‘low’, ultimately inviting us to see beyond such distinctions. Always playful, and at times irreverent, he sets up the most unlikely juxtapositions across time and space, creating conversations and ‘parties’ to which all are invited. An abiding theme is an investigation, and celebration, of England and Englishness.
Collage has always been a hallmark of Blake’s work, allowing him to freely mix found objects and images of people and other artworks; screenprinting, with its use of stencils and layers, lends itself perfectly to this technique, and indeed it was Pop Art that fully realised the potential of screenprinting as a medium for complex replication.