“Originality is for people with short memories.”
TRQ: Grayson Perry, Born March 24, 1960
Artist, writer and television broadcaster, Grayson Perry was born in Chelmsford, England. Perry attended Braintree College of Further Education and graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1982.
Joining the 1970’s punk movement and sometimes dressing as a woman, Perry suffered a strained relationship with his mother and abusive stepfather. Out on his own after graduation, he launched his career as an artist. Known primarily as a ceramicist, Perry has stated that “One of the reasons I dress up as a woman is my low self-esteem, to go with the image of women being seen as second class. It is like pottery: that’s seen as a second-class thing too.”
In his work, Perry combines the conventional vessel forms with depictions of social concerns, personal experiences, and the life story of Claire, his alter ego. Critiquing masculinity, gender and class, Perry creates the kitschy, characteristically animated surfaces of his pots through embossing, photographic transfers, and folk-art techniques, often evidencing Greek influences. His work is queer, funny and serious, adopting humour and caricature to address social prejudice and consumerism.
His work was displayed at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 2002. A year later, he became the first ceramic artist to win the prestigious Turner Prize. Perry attended the award presentation in drag. In 2005, he was the subject of the documentary, Why Men Wear Frocks, in which he spoke on living as a transvestite and its impact on his family. He continues to have shows at the Barbican Center, the British Museum, and the Andy Warhol Museum.
In 2008, Perry was named by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most powerful people in British Culture In 2015, Perry was appointed as chancellor of University of the Arts London. He is married and lives in London.