PopUp Painting’s ‘artist of the week’ is Grayson Perry.
Grayson Perry (b. 1960) is one of the most important British contemporary artists, whose socially engaged practice spans ceramics, printmaking, film, performance, drawing and embroidery.
The artist is predominantly known for his ceramic artworks. The ceramic works often take the form of classical vases, which the artist creates using the traditional ‘coiling’ technique. Perry then decorates his vases with sgraffito (layering washes of colour on top of each other and then scratching into the surface), text, photo transfers and rich glazes. It is only when the viewer is up close to the elaborate surface of the vases that it becomes clear that the imagery used is narrating social injustices, hypocrisies and other, often controversial, contemporary themes. There are also strong autobiographical references in his work- from his difficult childhood to his transvestite alter ego.
Perry challenges the idea of craft being conservative and purely decorative, often using wit as a way of depicting his challenging themes.
The artist is also known for his transvestite alter ego ‘Claire’, who the artist himself describes as a:
‘19th century reforming matriarch, a middle-England protester for No More Art, an aero-model-maker, or an Eastern European Freedom Fighter’.
The artist received the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003, a CBE in 2014 and was made chancellor of UAL in 2015.
In recent years Grayson Perry has undertaken radio and television projects, including delivering the Reith lectures on BBC radio and a Channel 4 production questioning identity titled ‘Who are you?’.