Painter pioneer of Pop Art. Born in Dartford, Kent. Studied at Gravesend Art School 1948–51; served in the R.A.F. 1951–3; continued his studies at the R.C.A. 1953–6; won the Leverhulme Research Award to study popular art and travelled in Europe 1956–7; was influenced by American realist painters. Exhibited at the R.A. 1954 and 1955; ‘Daily Express’ Young Artists Exhibition. During the late 1950s, Blake became one of the best known British pop artists. His paintings from this time included imagery from advertisements, music hall entertainment, and wrestlers, often including collaged elements. Blake was included in group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and had his first one person exhibitions in 1960. It was with the 'Young Contemporaries' exhibition of 1961 where he was exhibited alongside David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj that he was first identified with the emerging British Pop Art movement. Blake won the (1961) John Moores junior award for his work Self Portrait with Badges. He first came to wider public attention when, along with Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips, he featured in Ken Russell's film on pop art, Pop Goes the Easel, which was broadcast on BBC television in 1962. During the late 1950s, Blake became one of the best known British pop artists.