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Who Is.. Grayson Perry

LifeRebecca O'ByrneComment
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Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s most credible and heroic national treasures. The contemporary artist was born on March 24, 1960 in Chelmsford, Essex, England. Growing up in a working-class family, it was early on in his life there that his love of art and the creative life emerged. 

Now one of the world’s most acclaimed artists, he began his career as a potter while living in a squatters’ community in Camden town, London and attending evening classes in ceramics. From that came his first solo exhibition and the decision to focus entirely on ceramics as his primary art form. Notably brilliant in all his contradictions, his pretty and delicate vases are adorned with scenes of violence and paedophilia, war scenes and other disturbing social issues and have fetched as much as £36,000 at auction.

In 2003, Perry won the Turner prize, one of the art world’s premiere honours and at that point he reached celebrity status in the art world. In 2005, in the midst of the resulting public attention Channel 4 commissioned him to make a documentary about transvestism. The show, Why Men Wear Frocks, aired in 2005. He has published several books including an autobiography entitled, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl.

Between his ceramics and tapestries and his outspoken commentary on social matters, Perry has been an important part of the 21st century’s movement toward a more open-minded culture as he seeks to break down the restraints and ceilings placed upon us by societal norms and the traditions of past in his visual presentations of the extraordinary. As a well known cross-dresser, it was at the tender age of 13 that he was well on the way to becoming the man he is, confiding in his diary about his own transvestism which would later reveal itself in the form of Claire, his now infamous alter ego. 

Claire, who he had a coming out party for at a gallery in London back in 2002 is his way of questioning societal constraints on our sexuality and the way in which we view traditional manners of masculinity. Wearing a quintessentially girlie dress on the night, which he decorated with a teddy and some penises tied with pretty little bows, he brought to the world, in a very public manner, a part of himself which he embraces lovingly and with an empowered confidence that in fact plays a huge part in his ownership of his own masculinity. 

Supported by his wife, a psychologist, and daughter Flo, he is a gift to the world in all his humble yet honest and unmuted views of his surroundings and the society we find ourselves in. Endeavouring to open our minds, Perry is a true artist as he continues to break boundaries and put a voice to things that previously remained unsaid. 

Perry’s latest exhibition Super Rich Interior Decoration is at Victoria Miro in Mayfair, London from September 25th to December 20th. 

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