The English like eccentrics. They just don’t like them living next door. (Julian Clary)
I agree with Julian – the English have always celebrated eccentricity and quirkiness. I think this is a wonderful cultural trait and something to be proud of in this homogenized world we live in.
Grayson Perry is both English and a little eccentric, and it’s fair to say, he is pretty celebrated. Almost as famous for his cross dressing as he is for his amazing contemporary art, Perry was awarded the Turner prize in 2003 for his brilliant but often shocking ceramic works, the first ‘potter‘ to receive the accolade. He is a great chronicler of modern life, cleverly using wit and nostalgia (as well as some fear and anger) in his work.
His classically formed vases are decorated in bright colours, depicting disturbing and often uncomfortable subjects at odds with their attractive appearance. They are daring and, for me, at times confrontational (not always a bad thing in modern art, I think). There is also a strong autobiographical element in Perry’s work, in which images of Grayson Perry as ‘Claire’, his well-known and oft-photographed female alter-ego, often appear.
Perry has also worked in different mediums, as seen here with a detailed piece of his ‘Walthamstow Tapestry’ and his ‘Map of Truths and Beliefs’. The intricacy of these works have me shaking my head in wonder…
Grayson Perry collected his Turner prize award dressed as his alter ego Claire. I think that’s a pretty brave thing to do.
There is a wonderful you tube video of Grayson Perry talking about the celebration of individual differences. The world needs more people like him, I reckon’.
Grayson Perry, I salute you.