London Original Print Fair At Royal Academy hosts Iconic Pop Artist
An evening dedicated to the 80th birthday celebrations and printmaking accomplishments of Sir Peter Blake was marked on Thursday with a lecture and public appearance by the iconic Pop Artist. The venue was the 27th London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy, which also opened on the 19 April. Hailed as a master in contemporary printmaking, Blake opened the Fair with a special ‘in conversation’ talk with art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston. The talk revealed Blake’s longstanding dedication to the print as a medium and underlined his status as one of Britain’s most influential artists. The CCA Galleries staged a special retrospective of Blake’s iconographic works, spanning six-decades of printmaking. Blake also showcased a collection of new unseen prints to mark his 80th year. Several were created on diamond dust and revisited themes including flags, numbers, global brands and popular celebrities. Blake’s dedication to printmaking goes hand in hand with his belief that art should be accessible to a wide audience. With his paintings often fetching six figure sums, his prints represent an opportunity to collect his work at an affordable price.
Sir Peter Blake was the artist responsible for the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record sleeve. His trademark style began In the late 1950s, when he became one of the best known British artists working in the new genre Pop Art. His paintings from this time included imagery from advertisements, music hall entertainment, and wrestlers, often including collaged elements. Blake was included in group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and had his first solo exhibition in 1960. It was with the ‘Young Contemporaries’ exhibition of 1961 where he was exhibited alongside David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj that he was first identified with the emerging British Pop Art movement. Blake won the (1961) John Moores junior award for his work Self Portrait with Badges. He first came to wider public attention when, along with Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips, he was featured in Ken Russell’s Monitor film on pop art, Pop Goes the Easel, which was broadcast on BBC television in 1962. From 1963 Blake was represented by the legendary art dealer Robert Fraser which placed him at the centre of swinging London and brought him into contact with leading figures of popular culture.
The special celebration was toasted with champagne and cupcakes courtesy of the CCA Gallery.