Peter Blake

 

Peter Blake attended Gravesend Technical College and School of Art from 1946 to 1949 and subsequently Gravesend School of Art from 1949 to 1951. Having been accepted at the Royal College of Art, London in 1950, he carried out his National Service in the RAF (1951-53) and went on to study at the Royal College from 1953. His early work was dominated by two major subjects: fantastic scenes from the world of the circus and naturalistic paintings with autobiographic elements. The imitation of the popular image world of event posters, which Blake combined with portraits, was typical of his work and helped pave the way for English Pop Art.

 

In 1959, inspired by the example of 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. This culminated in the iconic cover design for the Beatles album 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (1967) which was one of his greatest successes.

 

In 1975 he was a founding member of the Brotherhood of Ruralists, along with Jann Haworth, Ann and Graham Arnold, David Inshaw and Annie and Graham Ovenden. Blake's imagery changed under the influence of these artists and his rural surroundings in Wellow-on-Avon. The members expected life in the country to provide them with new artistic impulses and moral renewal and just like the Pre-Raphaelites; they strove for an aesthetic permeation of all parts of life. Childhood memories, fairy tales and elves, depicted in realistic style using techniques of the old masters, became his favourite subjects.

 

In 1985, Blake designed the poster for Live Aid, the world's largest ever multi-national pop concert in aid of famine relief in Africa. Similarly, in 1995 he was commissioned to design the cover of Paul Weller's album 'Stanley Road'. He was elected Royal Academician in 1981 (ARA 1974) and was awarded the CBE in 1983. In 1994 he was made the Third Associate Artist of the National Gallery, London, and in 1998 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London. Blake lives and works in London.