Both iconic, both with a tremendous heritage. And since Sir Peter Blake showed his allegiance to Fred Perry as early as in 1961 by wearing a red polo shirt in his painting, ‘Self-Portrait with Badges’ it was just a matter of time before Fred Perry asked this legendary artist to be part of the latest Blank Canvas Collection.
A pioneer of the 50’s and 60’s Pop Artists, Peter Blake’s distinctive style usually involves clean graphic symbols, bold colour and a certain, very charming British tongue-in-cheek. Already making paintings of instantly recognisable popular subjects as a student at the Royal College of Art in the 1950’s, he anticipated artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol.
Peter Blake has always been as interested in folk art as in pop, collecting paintings by ‘outsider’ artists, pub signs and ephemera. Last Autumn Sir Peter Blake presented his collection of ephemera, from Elvis-branded condoms to Sonny Liston waxworks at the delightful Museum of Everything.
Sir Peter is a lifetime Mod who designed the cover for Paul Weller’s ‘Stanley Road’ album and also The Beatles ‘Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Accents from the former are clearly recognisable in the Fred Perry designs which also include such Blake classics as screenprinted targets, Union Jack patches and rainbows.
Obviously these 3 styles are severely Limited Edition in a numbered run of just a 1000, sporting Sir Peter’s signature on hem and back neck label and comes in an individual presentation box. They retail at £125.
Volt Café was delighted to get the opportunity to have a quick chat with Sir Peter.
Volt Café: First of all, what excites you at the moment?
Sir Peter Blake: Work! My studio’s right next to my home and I still get excited about going to work every day…
VC: What do you like about Fred Perry?
SPB: As a lifelong Mod I have to say it’s the Mod aesthetic.
VC: What’s your favourite item of clothing?
SPB: Well, my friend the Photographer Terence Donovan once said, ” You can do anything and go anywhere in a black suit and tie.” And he was right. It really made an impression on me – since then I’ve pretty much worn a suit every day, it just feels right. Like today – black suit, white shirt, dark red braces and blue socks. Generally that’s what I wear. Anonymous, yet you can go anywhere.
Together, we admire his worn but noble cuflinks which sport enamel targets. Just so right.
VC: That’s really funny…Because of what you wear in the self portrait, I imagined you permanently in jeans and a jeans jacket!
SPB: You couldn’t buy denim in the 50’s so I made myself a pair from a workman’s overalls…just cut the bib off. Then bought a denim jacket in France. Someone is making a denim suit for me now. And Tommy Nutter made me an incredible 3 piece suit back in the 70’s, I remember him roaring with laughter when I suggested it to him! Still got it. I’ve got a big collection of denim.
VC: You famously designed the album covers for Paul Weller’s Stanley Road and The Beatles’ Sergent Pepper. Is there any current acts you’d like to do a cover for?
SPB: I would love to do the Kaiser Chiefs – but their guy is really good. Have just done the cover on Boogie For Stu, which started out being in memoriam of pianist and tour manager Ian Stewart who allegedly got booted out of the Rolling Stones around the time of Brian Jones for not being pretty enough. Then Charlie Watts asked if he could be part of it and of course all the Stones ended up piling in!
VC: Lastly, how did the collaboration between you and Fred Perry come about?
SPB: Well, Fred Perry are doing a series of limited edition polos. I am involved with CCA and Fred Perry contacted them… I think they had a wishlist of people they wanted to involve and I was one of them. Of course I wanted to do it.
VC: Well you ARE wearing a Fred Perry in the self portrait!
SPB: Funnily enough, it’s a pirated copy! I found it recently and when I checked, I discovered it wasn’t a real Fred Perry…
Words by Anna Bang
TagsAndy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Fred Perry, Museum of Everything, Roy Lichtenstein, Sir Peter Blake, Stanley Road,