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Artists Peter Blake
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Peter Blake

British Painter

Movement: Pop Art

Born: June 25, 1932 - Dartford, England

Peter Blake Timeline

Quotes

"I wanted to make an art that was the visual equivalent of pop music."
Peter Blake
"I have this analogy of a tree. The branches are all my collages and collections, graphics, printmaking. But the trunk is painting. It is important that I do things like record covers, but perhaps it is not as important as a big painting."
Peter Blake
"I invented pop art, if one is being arrogant."
Peter Blake
"People will always be interested in popular culture."
Peter Blake
"I realized that I could paint the subjects I liked such as wrestlers and strippers and the rest of it."
Peter Blake

"I have always had this great adoration of people who are different, and I have always celebrated them."

Peter Blake Signature

Synopsis

Peter Blake is often called the "Godfather of British Pop art." Like many artists of his time, he came of age in a country recovering from the war, so much of his interests were drawn toward the bright and happy lifestyle that was being touted in America via a booming advertising industry utilizing groundbreaking new methods such as screen-printing to create optimistic and bold renditions of life in magazines, on posters, and on billboards. His early training as a graphic designer coupled with a rich education in more historical modes of art allowed him to blend his obsessions with the new youthful popular culture and pop music scene in swinging London with foundational art references from the past into a form of urban realism that was fresh. This challenged the status quo's idea about what constituted art and broke down barriers between traditional fine art and the new cutting edge field of Pop. As he progressed in his career, he continued to make work that gave respectful nods to the past cultural lexicon yet which remained equally engrossed in what lay on the horizon, reflecting man's ongoing experience of being prone to the external influences of past, present, and future.

Key Ideas

Many of Blake's more noted paintings are compositions of pictures within pictures, painted homogeneously on a singular plane. Whether pinned onto a subject's clothing, framed on a wall in a conjured environment, or held up by a character within a composition, Blake is showing us our common trait of collecting visuals, of treating them as objects to assimilate into badges of our own individual identity in which the line between looking and adopting becomes one.
The infiltration of popular culture, and most specifically pop music, into the art world scene was a common motif in Blake's work. The most famous example of this crossing of genres can be seen in the work he produced for The Beatles' seminal Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
Blake's work represents a decidedly British condition of searching for a better present or future. In his Pop art, this search led to the idealism seen in American advertisements and pop culture. In his later Ruralist works, this is shown through nostalgic depictions of a more conservative and Victorian past, or in the fantasy worlds of elves and fairy tales. In his landscape works this is found in the quieter, gentler pastures of life in the countryside.
Blake's consistent influx of references to current cultural trends remark upon the human experience within a constant stream of outward influences born within a mass media-laden society. Whether wrestlers, musicians, celebrities, works of literature, or nods to prior artworks, he fondly pays homage to the source materials of our modern mythmaking.
Blake once said, "You simply can't make art without having that history of art behind you and I think if you asked any artist they would always say they had learned from previous art. Perhaps I show that more than most in that I often appropriate art and quote from it." Even into the later years of his career, he continues to pepper his work with a combination of references to past and present to suggest this ongoing relationship.

Biography

Peter Blake Photo

Childhood

Peter Blake grew up in Kent, England in a typical blue-collar household as a son of an electrician. Although he had a younger brother and sister, he claims he was always "a solitary child" who was "extremely shy". He experienced a disruption in his education when his family was evacuated during the Second World War.

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Peter Blake Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Peter Blake
Interactive chart with Peter Blake's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Richard HamiltonRichard Hamilton
Eduardo PaolozziEduardo Paolozzi
Jasper JohnsJasper Johns
Robert RauschenbergRobert Rauschenberg
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp

Personal Contacts

David HockneyDavid Hockney

Movements

DadaDada
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Peter Blake
Peter Blake
Years Worked: 1954 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Damien HirstDamien Hirst
Tracey EminTracey Emin
Andy WarholAndy Warhol

Personal Contacts

Howard HodgkinHoward Hodgkin
David HockneyDavid Hockney

Movements

British Pop ArtBritish Pop Art
Pop ArtPop Art
Young British ArtistsYoung British Artists

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Anna Souter

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Anna Souter
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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