“Go to loads of openings, drink lots of cheap wine, hang out, talk about it, mix it up.”
When Grayson Perry won Britain’s controversial Turner Prize in 2003 it not only gave his artistic career a boost but propelled him onto the public stage especially as he accepted the prize in drag.
As the Guardian Newspaper’s Simon Hattenstone wrote in 2014 “It was hard to say at the time what got the most attention: that a transvestite had won the Turner, or that a ceramicist had – who thought a contemporary artist would be feted for his pots?”
But feted he was and Grayson has played his public role with perhaps more skill than that he employs in his art.
As The Spectator magazine’s noted “He belongs to a long line of oddballs — including Blake, Lewis Carroll and William Morris — who amount to a tradition of their own. His achievement is that by putting the contradictions of his own sensibility side by side, he has made some new atlases of that elusive and much debated entity: Britishness.”
Perry, himself is a little more pragmatic saying “I tick so many boxes. That’s why I get a lot of gigs – because I can do the lectures, I can do the television thing, and I dress up, and by the way, I’m an artist as well.”
Whilst working with tapestry and sculpture, Perry is best known for his vases. Utilizing classical forms he decorates them with bright colors and often depicts autobiographical subjects featuring his female alter-ego, Claire.
About his art Perry has said “I’m making art not for people who don’t like art, but for people who are interested but maybe alienated by the more esoteric pieces. I’m addressing them, and I think that’s more interesting than being yet another avant-garde try-hard.”
The machinations of the art world is a subject close to Perry’s heart and was the subject of his 2013 Reith Lectures Playing to the Gallery.
As he told London’s Time Out Magazine “I think sometimes in the art world there’s an implication that you need an entry-level education to walk through the door of a gallery. But you don’t. The learning experience actually happens once you’re in the gallery. I don’t think people should be intimidated to go through the door, so I’m kind of trying to give them enough info to do just that. Like a starter pack.”
To the accusation that he was he was conducting an art world expose, Perry countered stating “I think the art world can take it. Crikey, for the last 150 years it’s been punching itself in the face. It’s quite difficult now to find a bit of unbruised flesh.”
Perry’s current exhibition Small Differences is on show at İstanbul’s Pera Museum until the 26th of July.