Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

3 Aug 2013

People I admire.

So so happy to be featured in one of my favourite magazines this month. You will see that in it I talk about Peter Blake so I thought I would flesh this out with a bit more information and background. 

I shall always be eternally grateful to my Dad for many things too numerous to mention, but here is one. He introduced me to ART. Now, my Dad was from a rough part of North London, his father died when he was four and his Mum worked in a factory. School was a bit hit and miss during WWII yet despite all that, he educated himself and had a thirst for learning that was with him until he died. 

One of his life ambitions seemed to be to make sure I had everything that he never did. He imagined a life style that was for a different social class, and with society changing during the sixties this became an achievable goal. So from an early age, we did all the things that others thought 'potty'. We went abroad for holidays, not somewhere sunny but to places like Austria.
We went to art galleries regularly, to museums and to antique fairs. He threw me in at the deep end, in France he couldn't understand the menu yet despite that, we went to swanky restaurants and we ordered things that we had no idea what they would be. Once, yes, I ordered "brain", when it arrived I said, "it looks like a brain", and was told "try it and see what it's like", and, if I did that and I really didn't like it then I didn't have to eat it. 

In 1983 we went to an exhibition at The Tate (a regular haunt along with the V&A), the work of Peter Blake. This was to turn into a life long love. The work was edgy, grown up, yet funny and childish all at the same time. Hey, art doesn't have to be fusty and boring, it can be colourful and humorous, it can be created on a door or in a box. Cool.

For years now I have tried to buy and collect what I could afford, a few years ago myself and a friend went to a talk given by Peter Blake at the Tate. I took him a little present of something I had made and asked him to sign a book. I introduced myself to his wife Chrissy and we got chatting, I have since been to shows of her work which is beautiful. Chrissy commented on a piece of jewellery I was wearing, which I told her I had made. One thing lead to another and I ended up making some things for the ladies of the Blake family. It was such an honour. As a thank you Chrissy sent me a piece of Peters work and it is now my pride and joy. 

I have more pieces around the house, like Babe Rainbow, an original tin plaque made in the 60's. 

Sir Peter Blake, I salute you. You are so much more than "The Sgt. Pepper" album sleeve and media who still refer to you as that are seriously dumbing down. Long may you reign as the kind of Pop Art. 

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