Soda meets pop: Sir Peter Blake anchors Coke art show

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What will Blake's Coke look like?
What will Blake's Coke look like? Credit: Creativity Photo Composite
It's high season in and around London's Southbank Centre, and starting Saturday Coke and Mother are adding to the excitement with thirty artists' takes on the Coke Side of Life plume and an oversized original piece by pop artist Sir Peter Blake.

Best known for his collage cover of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Blake will begin assembling his work at Jubilee Garden this weekend, continuing into next week as the exhibition progresses.

The brief, according to Mother creative Erik Enberg, was one of unification. Coke was involved in other projects in the area, the designer-touched plumes, a Coke-sponsored Andy Warhol retrospective and an archive of Coke imagery and advertising at the British Film Institute. "[Coke] came to us with the request of how to bring it all together, make it mean something," says Enberg. "One of Mother's goals for Coke is to make it inviting, a brand you interact with that provides experiences, things that are active and that people are doing as opposed to just static advertising."

An image from the exhibition by IMNY
An image from the exhibition by IMNY
According to Enberg, Mother's been working for six months on the project and much of that time has been spent figuring out how to massage entry for the brand into the Southbank Centre's space. "Right now, around the Hayward Gallery are Anthony Gormley statues on the building and around the area," Enberg says. "It's a bit of a different thing for them to allow a brand to come in and do a thing that is a brand message. It was a lengthy process to get permission to be there, and through that you get frustrated but then you also just have to respect this is why the space is special, because these people are pretty serious about what goes in there. There certainly wasn't one person who could say yes; it was a process of going through a number of people and proving our artistic merits."

Once they had Blake on board it may have helped. Surprisingly, Enberg says, Blake was enthusiastic about the project from the start. "He immediately came back and said 'Yeah, I'd love to do it.' So we've been working with him for the last month or so to create this Peter Blake original," says Enberg. "It has a nod to the Sergeant Pepper's style, and it has also in it some iconography that harkens back to some of the imagery that Peter's famous for, so it is really a quintessential Peter Blake image."

An image from the exhibition by Büro Destruct
The Mother-curated group of international designers who took on the Coke Side of Life images includes Adhemas, Josh Boston, Büro Destruct, Pixecute, Fung Wee Lim, IMNY, RockAndRoll Agency and Mienandi.

The show will run through August and will also include chances to design your own bottle online, and a series of postcards, mini blank canvasses attendees can create their own plumes on and submit to an online gallery.

The artist and the finished work.
The artist and the finished work.

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