This is one of the artist’s most famous and recognizable works. In it, Blake reveals himself to be in thrall to the trappings of US popular culture – from the jeans and denim jacket he wears to the Elvis magazine cover. It is touchingly self-conscious in its attempt to shape identity through badges and regalia, while the style of painting relates to a distinctly British tradition.
Self-Portrait with Badges
Date of work
Oil paint on board 174.3 x 121.9 cm © Peter Blake / DACS 2015
One of the leading figures in British pop art, Peter Blake is known for his urban realist subjects. Born in Dartford in 1932, he moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art in 1956. Remaining in the city for more than a decade, Blake was at the cultural centre of vibrant 1960s London. His work fuses high art and popular culture, referencing historical artworks, weekly magazines, children’s stories, movie stars and musicians. His output is famously broad ranging and includes painting, graphic design, collage, book illustration, sculpture and printing. He was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain in 1983.