Charting his development as an artist, Blake recalled how he initially studied commercial art at Gravesend Art School before moving on to the painting school at the Royal College of Art. For him this was a defining combination that influenced his whole career. Unlike many of today's star artists he is still happy to accept commissions (as the Liverpool ferry project shows) and makes versions of his work for sale at affordable prices. This democratic spirit, combined with the accessibility of his work, gives a new and positive meaning to commercial art. His work carries little intellectual baggage. As he said about his portrait paintings, all done from photographs, "I try to make a likeness and simplify it".