Legendary British pop artist Sir Peter Blake is donating his latest and most unusual pictures The Arrival of the Smart Meters to charities and organisations across Great Britain. Smart meters will be offered to every household in Great Britain by 2020 as part of the digitisation of our national energy system, bringing an end to estimated bills and showing us what we’re spending on energy in near-real time in pounds and pence.
Twenty-five original prints are being donated by the ‘Godfather of British Pop Art’, famous for work including the design of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. The recipients will be given one of the 25 signed prints that are being donated to charities, universities and community projects across the country.
The Arrival of the Smart Meters was created by Sir Peter to mark the coming of smart meters to every home in Great Britain. The picture takes inspiration from the smart meter in-home displays that show households how much energy they are using in pounds and pence. It transforms the displays into colourful people, representing the army of smart meter installers bringing this new technology to every home in the country.
The prints were on display in the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds for a month at the end of last year.
Sir Peter Blake said: “I took inspiration for my latest work from the artist Saul Steinberg, who gave new meaning to everyday objects. In this case the smart meters suggested little bodies to me, so I turned them into people, symbolising the installers who are fitting the meters into every home in Great Britain. I love that something that can be seen as rather workaday is being introduced with art, and Arrival of the Smart Meters is an interesting way of highlighting its national significance.”
Claire Maugham, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter rollout said: “People across the country will now be able to see these pictures, by one of our greatest living artists, in their communities. Sir Peter Blake has brought smart meters and the national rollout to life in such a creative way. I hope these pictures inspire people around the country to find out more about how they can get their smart meter.”
Sir Peter Blake is the latest major cultural figure to take inspiration from smart meters and the transformation they will bring to our energy system. In May 2016 Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy published Meters, a poem that marked the digital switchover from analogue to smart meters. In November 2015 the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed A Requiem for Meters, a three-minute piece of music played entirely on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. The requiem was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released for free on Spotify.
Eight in ten people with smart meters would recommend one and the same proportion say they have taken steps to save energy, such as turning off lights, turning their heating down or changing the way household appliances are used.
Watch a film of Sir Peter Blake talking about his latest piece of pop art here.