World Tour: Chicago- Boating signed limited edition silkscreen print by British pop artist Sir Peter Blake. Blake takes a break from Europe and hops over to Chicago for a spot of boating. The boats themselves are particularly American; with a paddle steamer emblazoned with the word 'Iowa' visible in the background, and a motor boat with 'America' painted on its hull in the middleground. The boats are also reminiscent of the many who emigrated across the sea for a better life in the United Sates. This feeling is heightened by the figure of a man paddling on a makeshift raft in the foreground, and the array of international costume worn by some of the passengers.
Available individually as as part of the set of 10 World Tour images.
Peter Blake gives us his own inimitable and humourous view of a financial crisis with this collage-based scene of panic outside the Paris Bourse (the stock exchange). By 'mugging' he may be making a tongue-in-cheek jibe at the way the financial markets and bankers make profits when normal citizens are struggling to make ends meet (as represented by the poverty-stricken travellers in the background), or he could simply be referring to the two figures in the foreground who are attacking or perhaps arresting an horrified young man.
The point is- as with all Blake's collage-based works that we can read into it what we will; there is always a story to be uncovered, connections to be made, jokes to be spotted.
Blake visits Paris and indeed France several times in his World Tour series, as well as his recent Paris Quartet and Paris Suite, so the city of lights obviously holds a fascinating and inspirational quality for the arist.
Blake takes us for a stroll along the french riviera in Nice Promenade from his World Tour series. This piece radiates light and colour, as well as the faded charm of a by-gone era. The great, the good and the unexpected are promenading to see and be seen. Blake's world is not only for the chic and fashionable but for everyone; his magic crows includes clowns, soldiers, cricket players, knights, school boys, American Indians, Malaysian dancers, Indian princesses, musicians, Africans and philosophers to name a few.
This bustling crowd is perhaps a tongue in cheek jibe at the flock of people who descend on Nice and Cannes during the summer months, or the melee of the film festival in May. Blake draws our eye into the busy scene with three brightly coloured clowns in the foreground (hinting that the annual descent on the rivera is a circus?) and creating a triangle of red with the British army officer in the centre of the crowd. The result is incredibly atmospehric, you can almost feel the gentle mediterranean breeze....
One of the most joyous and chic of sir Peter Blake's World Tour images, Paris- Dancing features three young women dancing in the air above a gathering of dancers in a parisian square. The background seems to be taken from an antique illustrated guide to Paris and features a classically french hansard roof.
The flying ladies are reminiscent of Man Ray and have been a recurring motif in Blake's recent work (they also feature in the Venice Suite and Paris Quartet). The liberation and beauty of these figures as they float through the sky seems to embody the espirit of Paris in the belle epoque or 1920s.
The joyous and democratic spirit of dance is made manifest in the square below by a crowd of people from every different time period and ehnicity that you can imagine- inlcuding children, englishmen in boaters, a flamenco dancer, a dutch milk maid, a plague doctor and a guitar player to provide the imaginary soundtrack for this scene of revelry.
This classic Blake collage composition combines nostalgia, absurdity and literary references with an irreverent sense of humour. Blake places together people, animals and setting in a surreal and unexpected combination. As with all Blake's collage-based compositions there are links and and stories, jokes and cultural refernces to be read into the connections between these elements. He asks the viewer to make these connections, to create their own story.
The use of a vintage postcard as a background for the scene and characters/animals taken from Blake's huge collection of various antique printed material- from encyclopaedias to magazines, adverts etc. has been at the centre of his work for many years.
There is something so funny, charming and innocent about this work that makes it one of my favourites from the World Tour series, and also reminiscent of the artist himself- gentle, witty and joyful.
Did you know that Sir Peter Blake had created a permanent art installation at Gatwick Airport? The London Collection is a series of twelve digital prints on canvass welcoming visitors and home-comers to London. The project has been curated by CCA Galleries and the artworks made at Coriander Studio.
The twelve images feature iconic London buildings and locations from Big Ben to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Abbey Road, and capture the diversity, vibrancy and multi-cultural nature of our capital city. The works are a love song to London, celebrating its past, present and future with all the wit, humour and affection that you would expect from Brit and Londoner Sir Peter Blake.
Brad Faine, Managing Director of Coriander Studio,
‘One of the great things about The London Collection is its accessibility; there are elements in the works that anyone can relate to or be intrigued by, at the same time they are immediately recognisable as being British. The images are very original, they look like the work of a young man, and considering that Blake has just turned 80, that is a huge achievement.’
Sir Peter was delighted to be commissioned for the project by Gatwick Airport,
‘Gatwick Airport approached me to bring together a collection representing London. Feedback from passengers had been that UK airports can be quite grey and soulless and so they wanted something that would inspire those arriving into the city and that would help instil a sense of pride amongst British people returning home.
It’s a very exciting project – being able to use the expansive walls of the airport as a blank canvass – and to bring art to so many people as they travel into London. I love the idea of a moving audience, from all different backgrounds and cultures. Some of whom will look at the images as decoration, others who will stop to ponder, reflect and maybe even build their own stories and fantasies from the work - all before going out to really explore London! I look forward to seeing and hearing the reactions of passengers.
I am naturally patriotic – as I hope everyone is – and am fiercely proud of our country. I always think that no matter who you are, things could be better, things could be worse, but being British will always be something that we should be inspired by. I’ve never lived anywhere else, despite having the opportunity, and that’s because this is an amazing place to call home. My immediate thought went to a contemporary piece, focusing on celebrity faces and images. But in the end we felt that more non-specific but intriguing pieces would actually work better for such a diverse audience. So, this collection is a series of collages, all based on a London backdrop but which have a fantastical edge. People can arrive and enjoy and then make their own way to explore their own fantasy in London.
I was born in Dartford, which is very close to London, so in a way I’ve really always counted myself as a Londoner. I’ve regularly visited the city ever since I was a kid and can’t think of any better place to be. It has everything you could possibly wish for; it’s steeped in history yet has a contemporary vibe and boasts landmarks, culture and nightlife. It is quite simply an exciting and extraordinary city.’
World Tour: London Regatta I and II, and London Multi-Ethnic Crowd are available to buy online or over the phone. Please follow the links beneath the images above to find their product pages.
As Tate Britain opens the first major exhibition dedicated to the work of Kurt Schwitters in Britain, we explore the huge influence his work had on Peter Blake's artistic vision.
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) was a German artist who worked across many media including collage, sculpture, painting, design and installation work. Forced to flee Germany by the Nazis in 1940 he came to Britain where he was interred for a time at the German prisoner of war camp on the Isle of Man before settling in the UK until his death in 1948. Perhaps he is most remembered for the concept of 'Merz': the combination and use for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials. Schwitters pioneered the use of everyday found objects in art, particularly his collages.
Blake's admiration for the work of Schwitters is exemplified by the series of collage-based silkscreen prints he created in his honour: Homage to Schwitters (2005). Here we see the inclusion of day-to-day objects like pebbles and bottle tops as well as commercial printed materials such as postcards, newspapers and ticket stubs. Blake also creates his homage in the way he lays out these compositons; the juxtaposition of contrasting materials in a perfectly balanced abstract.
However the influence of Schwitters can be seen in many of Blake's recent print work. In A Walk Along Aldeburgh Beach Blake incorporates natural objects that he found while strolling by the sea at Aldeburgh; much as Schwitters began to do when he settled in Cumbria in 1945. Though working in a flat medium (silkscreen) Blake attempts to capture the texture and sculptural quality of these found objects, ranging from a dilapadated shoe sole to pebbles, shells and drift wood.
Blake's entire series of Found Art prints are indebted to Schwitters insistence of looking at everyday materials in a new way, of incorporating the real world into fine art. Blake's 'fag packets' and children's board game covers etc. all explore and this same original tenet that came to define pop art.
Kurt Schwitters in Britain is on at Tate Britain until 12th May 2013.
Flowers will go in the bin by the end of next week but at artwork is personal and will be part of your life for as long as you want it to. So why not express your love by finding an artwork that says everything you feel and want to say to your beloved? Nothing could be more romantic.
Part of Peter Blake's 1991 Alphabet Series V is for Valentine is a delicate and whimsical exploration of love composed of an array antique valentine cards from Blake's peronal collection.
Bold and jubilant Hughes' work signifies the possibility's of letting love in through your door. The heart motif is a favourite for the artist, here it is filled with a bright blue sky in contast with the grey surrounds of everyday life.
Part of a series of four works that explore love and longing, Antares & Love IV represents the heavenly magic of a kiss.
Inspired by the story of how Baldwin met his wife, this work is full of the warmth and innocence of a sunny afternoon with the person you love.
Leading British abstract master of the last century Frost's work is full of joie de vivre and exuberance.
Fraser made a home-made Valentine card for his wife every year of their sixty year marriage, this image is taken from her favourite one. All profits from sales will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.
This poignant and heartfelt work explores the rejuvenating powers of love. All profits from sales will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.
Master printmaker Brad Faine uses Love Heart sweets to create a unique contemporary valentine. All profits from sales will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.
This painterly silkscreen by leading British artist Maggi Hambling creates a heart motif from sunrise hitting a dark sea, signifying the optimism and beauty of love. All profits from sales will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.
Collaged letters from different sources spell out 'I Love You' in this one of Blake's most successful recent print editions.
Intricate, delicate and hopelessly romantic All of the Words is a favourite for Valentine's Day. All profits from sales will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.
Love pop art? Give a cheeky edge to Valentine's Day by giving a kiss from Marilyn Monroe to your loved one. This 3D moving lenticular by Professor of Holography Martin Richardson combines high technology with an iconic movie star.
CCA Galleries is delighted to introduce the work of holograph and lenticular artist Martin Richardson. Clare Clinton gets to know the artist and his work....
CC: Could you tell us a little about your background?- How did you become an artist in holograms and lenticulars?
MR: I made my first holograms when studying Fine Art at Middlesex Polytechnic in 1978. It was part of an ‘anti-establishment’ strategy I had devised as an impoverished art student where it seemed everything in art had already been done. Students were simply repeating what Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp had already achieved. I identified holograms as being new and fresh, a new medium worth exploring.
CC: Who are the artists that you most admire?
MR: I admire any artist that shakes things up. The German-born British painter Lucian Freud, Rene Magritte, Peter Blake, Damien Hirst for his piece ‘Physical Impossibility of Death In The Mind Of Something Living’, Dante Leonelli for his kinetic Sculptures, David Lynch for his movies. Each shocked during there time.
CC: What inspires you?
MR: The fact that technology has linked our experiences, our views and value of existence, to a global Facebook page. And yet at the same time expanding our understanding of the universe to beyond human comprehension.
CC: What is your working process/technique?
MR: Keep it simple.
CC: How do you pick your subjects/subject matter?
MR: If you’re thinking of my holographic portraits, when I asked Sir Peter Blake to sit for one of my holograms it was because I admire his work. David Bowie was another. If you’re thinking of my other compositions, one only has to open a book on the Surrealist Rene Magritte to see where I’ve been and my interpretations of dreams.
CC: What is your favorite work of art?
MR: That’s an impossible question! It’s like asking which sibling one loves most.
CC: What book would you take to a desert island?
MR: ‘Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963’ by Sylvia Plath.
CC: Do you have a daily routine to how you work?
MR: Simply when ever I can.
CC: Do you work on one piece at a time or several?
MR: Several, never less than four.
CC: Is there an over-arching theme or message to your work?
MR: Yes, but I really don’t have a conscious control over it so don’t blame me if people complain.
CC: Which talent would you most like to possess?
CC: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
MR: My children.
CC: What is your favourite public exhibition space?
MR: Museum of Modern Art, New York. Who thought of placing a Helicopter next to an Andy Warhol?
CC: What do you think of the Arts in Britain today?
MR: I think the art being made today by young artists is changing the way art is presented. One of the most exciting things is the emergence of performance art, (well done Tate Modern in developing an area for this), but the next stage will be its documentation.
CC: How would you like people to view your work in the future?
MR: I would like them to see my work as being a necessary stepping-stone for the technology through which they may experience art. In the future people will experience art through 3-D technology, holographic projections made with light suspended in thin air.
Childhood nostalgia is arguably the dominant thread that runs throughout the work of Peter Blake. At this time of year with little children writing their annual letters to Father Christmas and old-fashioned favourites like 'It's A Wonderful Life' and 'The Snowman' set to fill our screens, I got to thinking of how childhood memories and influences are reflected in the work of many contemporary artists, and how this can lend something innocent, sweet, and sometimes disconcerting to their work.
For Peter Blake his interest in various areas of popular culture stems from his childhood passions: going to the circus, going to the movies, watching wrestling matches, watching cartoons, reading stories and so on. He is still a member of the Shirley Temple Fan Club having joined whilst still aged in single digits. Almost any one of his works links back to a childhood theme if you choose to examine it closely enough. One of the things that make's Blake's work unique in our cynical and sceptical world is its pervasive happiness and warmth; the works by be witty or funny, but they are never dark or negative. The world he creates is full of joy and laughter.
Childhood motifs also recur in the vision of Dan Baldwin. He uses child figures, toys, cartoon animals and general childhood epehemera to create a contrast with the darker adult content and message of his work. So in the same piece we will see sleeping children floating in a composition that includes guns, razor blades or skulls. By thus undermining comforting childhood imagery he creates a feeling of danger and discomfort, exploring the contradictions of the modern world: innocence and guilt, life and death, love and hate.
I have found three pieces in the large canon of print and original work by Donald Hamilton Fraser that exlore childhood. I think Toy Hussar and Still Life Toys may have been inspired by Fraser's great passion for the ballet; as they certainly seem reminiscent of the toys in the Nutcracker. There is something in the way he depicts them that gives these little toy figures a certain grandeur and majesty combined with a touch of pathos for the toy no longer cherished ot played with. The child with a kite is a subject that the artost returned to on several occasions. It is a very unusual choice of subject for Fraser as he rarely depicts any figures that aren't dancers. This utterly charming work has more akin with his abstract landscapes than his dancer studies; its emphasis is on colour and space, its story that of the magical freedom found in the moment the kite takes to the sky.
There is certainly something childlike in the work of Patrick Hughes; the simplicity of his compositions, his recurring use of rainbow or heart motifs, the overall effect of cheeriness he produces.
There is so much to be mined from childhood and put at the artist's disposal, consciously or not. I supoose it should not be surprising how often these influences crop up in the way we see the world or how we express ourselves.