Peter Blake

"Most artists go potty as they get older: dafter and madder as they get more celibate. So I am consciously going to do that", so says Peter Blake who, having just turned a cool 90 years old, hopefully promises to get madder and madder...
A self-portrait, painted in 1961, shows Peter Blake (1932- ) standing in a garden in denim - head to toe - and trainers, and covered in badges. No big deal? As one article put it recently though, this portrait marked the start 'of youth culture itself'. The post-world war was shaking itself free of a suited, booted and grown-up society; the 'teenager' as we know it was rebelling against their parents, Elvis and (yes, they were bound to be mentioned) The Beatles were changing pop music forever. Blake's 'Self-Portrait with Badges' kicked off a decade teaming with excitement and change, for him and society.

Of course, the cover of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is now synonymous with his style. The collages made up of pop icons and references, bold advertisements, historical figures and an abundance of animals are melting pots of the transitions -rarely smooth - in art and visual cultures of the mid 20th Century. Peter Blake has never attempted to raise himself above the mindset of those around him; his art draws on the everyday, and in this milestone year his work is something we can all celebrate and be lucky enough, in our 8 Holland Street galleries, to enjoy.