PETER BLAKE

(British, b.1932)

 

Peter Blake is best known for his Pop Art style. He designed the sleeve of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the cover for the Oasis album Stop the Clocks. Blake was born in Dartford, UK, and rose to fame in the 1950s. He produced paintings with the feel of a collage. The artist’s pieces include images from published works, advertisements, and music hall entertainment. Blake often painted wrestlers, and some of his pieces resemble advertisements or posters. In 1961, he won the John Moores junior award, and was featured in the Young Contemporaries exhibition alongside David Hockney and R. B. Kitaj. One of Blake’s significant early works was On the Balcony; the painting appears to be a collage, but it was actually produced with oil paint on a wood panel. This colorful piece features British school children, famous works of art, and popular magazines.

 

In 1969, Blake moved from London to Bath, where he became inspired by characters from Shakespearean plays and English folklore. He produced works inspired by the book Through the Looking Glass, including a painting he called For instance now, now there’s the King’s messenger. This piece features a forlorn Mad Hatter sitting on a stool, shackled at the ankle.

 

In 1992, Blake was featured in the BBC documentary Masters of the Canvas. 10 years later, in 2002, the artist received a knighthood for his services to art. Around his 80th birthday, Blake recreated the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover art using pictures of people he had met throughout his life. He used computer software to produce the art, instead of the plywood pieces that were used to create the original design.

 

His paintings have been on exhibited at the Tate Liverpool, the Sir Peter Blake Music Art Gallery in Leeds, and the Holburne Museum in Bath. The artist continues to live and work in England.