Sir Peter Blake is an artist whose love for the popular has kept him popular for a long time. This year he is celebrating his 80th birthday by filling a box with reminders of the decades in which he has lived. Made in conjunction with other artisan craftsmen, the project is a limited edition art piece made up of curated artefacts and Macallan whisky miniatures.
Often referred to as the godfather of British Pop Art, Blake is well known for mashing his interests together on canvas, his art celebrates the bits and pieces of people, places and things that make up the modern world. Arguably Blake's most famous creation is the design of the sleeve for The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which being a unifying collection of tchotchkes, homages, people you'd want to meet, things you'd want to put in your pocket, demonstrates his style neatly. Blake's bold cataloguing and collaging, the tone and technique of his works is in the visuals we see commonly today, the stuff we take for granted in our weary post-modern world. His most stirring piece On The Balcony is a painting that looks like a collage, featuring a young boy's magazines, badges, games and a reference to Edourad Manet's The Balcony.
Blake's birthday artwork is nostalgia in an oak box, one big keepsake containing many little keepsakes, events, ideas and innovations from the last eight decades shrunk down to collectible size. For instance, the 30s is represented with a small fire bucket, invoking the fire and water of whisky and earthly beginnings, the 80s compartment holds a fishing gnome and robin painting, the 00s acknowledges the digital age tongue-in-cheek with its small porcelain mouse. But it is Blake not time who is the hero of this art piece, it celebrates his life, how he has worked and existed. He features on the labels for the first and final whiskey bottles, as a child in the 30s and for the 00s there is a photo of him as he looks today. Each bottle of whisky's label was designed by Blake, as he has done for Macallan before back in 1986 for their collectable Macallan 1926.
A cabinet maker, writer, book designer and artefact director were enlisted to assist Blake in putting the artwork together. Included with the box is a book of information on the artist and Macallan, who they are individually and how they are linked. Only 250 copies of the artwork have been produced and they are on sale for £4,500 for a limited time.