“Creativity is mistakes.” – Grayson Perry
One man we love a lot is Grayson Perry. Born in Essex, 1960, it’s fair to say he’s gone on to become one of the Nation’s best-loved artists and here’s why. The playfulness and fun that radiate out from his work is set off by the stealthy, subversive commentary it contains. The traditional craft mediums of pottery and embroidery that he uses feel informal, intimate and comfortable. They draw the viewer in close in much the same way a person might gently take you by the elbow so they can confide something in your ear. There’s something inherently accessible about Grayson Perry. On the level. And we appreciate that because it’s…well, it’s friendly!
Here’s a vase he made about what Grayson calls ‘Default Man…A white, middle-class, middle-aged, heterosexual man, an identity group that hides in plain sight.”’ It bears motifs of MP Chris Huhne, (the one who got his wife to take his speeding points for him, got caught and went to prison), his personalised registration plate and a phallus. The fact the vase has been smashed speaks for itself!
And here we have a detail from his Walthamstow Tapestry, which won the 2003 Turner Prize. It depicts the seven ages of man against a branded back-drop of modern life. Mums with prams, carrier bags in trees, kids on mobiles, armed soldiers, suicide bombers ready to detonate all jostling against a vast consumerist back-drop. The tapestry is massive – fifteen by three metres, and it blows your mind to look at.
Besides the outstanding nature of his work, Grayson Perry inspires us with his humour and humility. For a man who’s achieved so much, he never seems to take himself too seriously, and this is summed up best by the man himself:
“Ridiculous for me is a compliment.”
If you liked finding out a little bit about Grayson, there’s plenty more where that came from – other artists who inspire us include Cy Twombly, Martin Creed and Cornelia Parker. Could there be an easier way to expand your contemporary art knowledge?