Peter Blake emerged in the 1960s as one of the leading British Pop Artists; he is most famous, perhaps, for his cover design of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album in 1967. Alphabet is a set of bold and colourful silkscreen prints, one for each letter of the alphabet, produced by the artist in 1991. The prints characterise his typical method of working, incorporating 'found' imagery from postcards, magazines and popular ephemera. From the familiar Z for Zebra to the esoteric P for Pachyderm these screen prints reflect his humour, nostalgia and eclecticism.
Born in 1932 in Dartford, Kent, Blake studied at the Royal College (1953-56) where he was a contemporary and friend of David Hockney. There he began to explore themes such as circus performers, film stars and the emblematic motifs of children’s games, badges and comics. During this time he also experimented with abstract planes of colour, juxtaposed with images of musicians, actors and models, including rock ‘n’ roll icons such as Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers.
In 1969 Peter Blake moved to the West Country and six years later co-founded the Brotherhood of Ruralists. Since then he has produced more traditional paintings and watercolours alongside his Pop collages and constructions. He was elected Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1981 and was awarded a CBE in 1983. In the same year, a major retrospective of his work at the Tate Gallery, London was one of the most successful exhibitions ever held there for a living artist. He is now an active Royal Academician, and was the chief curator of the RA’s 2001 Summer Exhibition. He lives and works in London.
Top image: Peter Blake K for King (Elvis Presley), 1991 Screenprint. All rights reserved DACS 2006.
Bottom image: Peter Blake R for Rainbow, 1991 Screenprint. All rights reserved DACS 2006.