Meet Peter Blake. Do you like his badges?
There are lots of clues in this self-portrait that tell us about Peter. Which pop star do you think he likes? And where do you think he comes from?
Blake is wearing a denim jacket, jeans and baseball boots in his self-portrait. Lots of people wear clothes like that now, but in the early 1960s only young people in Britain dressed like this.
Peter Blake was born in Kent in 1932 and is sometimes called the Godfather of British Pop Art. This is because he was one of a group of artists in the 1950s who started to paint pictures and make sculptures about the things they liked. Like films, comic books, and pop music. A lot of the things they liked came from America.
Like this painting of the Beach Boys, who were a pop group from California who were very popular at the time. Pop artists also made art about objects that were mass-produced, like Coca-Cola and cornflakes. They wanted to celebrate the things we think of as ordinary and show that they could be art too.
Blake was seen as a radical artist who only painted new things. But actually, his paintings are very traditional and were inspired by artists like Samuel Palmer and William Blake who lived in the 1700s and many of his artworks were based on classical paintings by British artists like the Georgian painter Thomas Gainsborough.
In the late 1960s Peter Blake founded an art group called The Ruralists who wanted to paint pictures about the beauty and magic of everyday life. They left London and moved to the countryside where they hoped to create paintings that were joyful and inventive.
This picture was made while Blake was a Ruralist. It is one of a series of paintings based on Alice’s Adventures of Wonderland, which is a very magical book. All sorts of enchanting things happen to Alice. Blake used his daughter as the model for Alice.
Blake enjoyed living in the countryside, but he returned to London in 1979 after the Ruralists broke up.
But that didn’t stop him from looking for fantastical things in everyday life. This picture is called ‘I May Not Be a Ruralist Anymore but Today I Saw a Fairy in My Garden in Chiswick’.
What a fantastic name for an artwork! What else could this be called?
We applaud you Peter Blake for taking the ordinary and making is extraordinary!
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