NOT MANY people can share a claim to fame with the likes of Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlon Brando.
But now one Leeds chef can claim to join a select line up of stars to be given the Sir Peter Blake treatment, after he was featured in a new artwork by the creator of the cover design for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album.
The legendary British pop artist paid tribute to independent shopkeepers in his new piece, High Street Heroes, commissioned to celebrate Small Business Saturday, a campaign to highlight small businesses and encourage people to shop local.
Like with his famous Sgt Pepper design, Sir Peter combined photographic portraits of 61 shopkeepers with the tools of their trades to create the new piece, which is available to download for free online.
Among the bakers, booksellers and fishmongers pictured Jim Key, head chef of from steakhouse and cocktail bar Rare on Little Briggate.
The restaurant was picked to take part by American Express, who founded Small Business Saturday in America in 2010 and brought the event to the UK for the first time last year. It takes place on the first Saturday in December, less than two weeks away.
Rare general manager John Quinlan said the restaurant was “really honoured” to be involved in a project with Sir Peter. It sources local produce and despite being less than a year old, has thrived, something it puts down to personal service.
He added: “We are a small business. Its imperative to have good contact with our customers, every customer is important to us and the customer is the most important part of our industry.”
Sir Peter said small shops and the “Great British Shopkeeper” had been at the forefront of British culture for hundreds of years.
“The notion of a Nation of Shopkeepers is embedded in our folklore and the wonderful variety of today’s independent shops as well as the character that small businesses bring to a local area make them an ideal subject matter for modern pop art,” he said. “Having worked at a local butcher at the age of 13 I have also experienced the dedication and hard work that goes into running a small shop. It is for all these reasons that I am thrilled to be lending my support to a campaign that champions small businesses.”
SIR PETER Blake won a Grammy award for his work on the cover art for The Beatle’s 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band.
Often referred to as the Godfather of the British pop-art scene in the late fifties and sixties, he became a CBE in 1983 and received a knighthood for his services to Art in 2002.
He also designed the cover for the original Band Aid single Do They Know It’s Christmas? in 1984, Paul Weller’s Stanley Road album in 1995 and the 2006 Oasis greatest hits album Stop the Clocks.
High Street Heroes is available to download for free from amexshopsmall.co.uk up until December 6, the date of this year’s Small Business Saturday.