THOUGH he is most well known for designing the cover of The Beatles’ album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, pop art pioneer Sir Peter Blake admitted he prefers rival musicians The Beach Boys.
The renowned artist, 84, revealed that one of the projects he is most proud of throughout his 50-plus year career is the prints he created for musician and former Beach Boys member Brian Wilson’s That Lucky Old Sun in 2009.
He told the Press Association: “I always wanted to do an album cover for Brian Wilson, and I did.
“He is my second favourite musician, after the Beach Boys themselves. I’m an enormous fan.”
Sir Peter spoke about his life’s work as he unveils his latest work, promoting the use of smart meters in homes.
But he confessed that, while he plans to join the 53 million households now installing the technology, he doesn’t have one of the “funny little things” himself.
Created in 15 hours using computer programmes, Arrival Of The Smart Meters transforms a collection of the gadgets, which tell users the running cost of the energy they are using, into cheerful robot-like people on a yellow background.
But this was one piece of art that Sir Peter, 84, did not base on his own experience.
He told the Press Association: “I don’t really have an opinion on smart meters myself as we don’t have one.
“But I am told they are a great advantage so I’m quite looking forward to it.”
Explaining how he came up with the final work after gathering a number of smart meters, he continued: “It was quite a difficult project because there is not much one can do with them.
“They are funny little things. The idea occurred to me that they look a little bit like bodies.
“I thought of the drawings of people by Saul Steinberg and luckily nearly all of them had a circular motif I could use for a head.
“So I created a miniature army of delighted smart meters.”
He added that he hoped the sprightly figures set against a light background would help people feel positive about installing smart meters, rather than “dreading” it.
The former Royal College of Art student rose to fame in the 1950s and 60s with his colourful pieces, creating cover artwork for hit bands and earning recognition as the “Godfather of British pop art”.
“I quite like that title,” he said.
“The pop art movement itself was quite short but the ethos, and my reasons for painting, have remained the same.
“The phrase hadn’t been invented when it all first started so it was just painting things I was interested in - and at the moment I am sitting painting a tattooed lady.
“I’ve always been absolutely non-political because, for me, it’s about celebrating and making magic.”
Revealing his other lifelong passion, he added: “I love comic books, especially the Justice League Of America.
“It has a mix of men and women and they were very basic, homely, straightforward.”
• The Arrival of the Smart Meters is being exhibited at the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds from November 23 to December 11.