Peter Blake @ Tate Britain
I went to hear Peter Blake talking at the Tate (Wednesday 18th June). I've always liked his stuff with his Elvisy, poppy motifs, in fact his toy shop was one of the first art works I ever liked. More recently I saw a piece about how his On the Balcony was put together, at the Transition show at The Barbican - I hadn't realised its connections to the Royal Family. Anyway it dawned upon me as I sat in the Tate Britain lecture hall that loads of his themes and interests are also mine.
The talk coincided with the launch of a new Peter Blake book - one of the Tate's contemporary artist series and there was free wine and nibbles (which is unheard of at one of these events ). During the talk/Q&A Blake came across as a very nice, affable man with a penchant for story telling, he even apologised for talking too much. He was amazingly open in describing his working methods and influences even saying that if he sees an artists work that he likes he rushes back home to make his own version of it. His work over the years mirrors everything he likes, admires and wants and this enthusiasm is reflected back in his paintings, sculptures and collages. He said when I saw "things I was interested in I couldn't not do work about them"
Blake is now in his 80s and has officially retired which he says means he isn't worrying about the art world but just doing what he wants when he wants although this doesn't mean his work rate has slowed down. He described the making of a set of illustrations for Under Milk Wood as something he is doing as "a hobby in the evening".
Peter Blake gives me hope for the future, he is still there doing what he wants with as much enthusiasm as ever.
The Tate's website has this event archived