Uncategorized

Maps of Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry, born in 1960, and winner of the Turner Prize in 2003, is one of the best known and influential artists living today. Primarily known for his ceramic jars and his self-identification as a transvestite, his work over the last few years has branched widely to include television series, tapestries and maps.

fun-claire-grayson_3079918c

I chose to focus on these other works for this post, partly because I’ve written about his pots before and partly because I find the maps particularly inspiring. All of his work features images and the collage of ideas combined with a sense of history and craft of medium filtered through self-examination. The maps do all this but with a commitment to research and historical accuracy that seems to balance the self-expression in an art historical context. Seen in the image above, Perry’s sense of color and composition are a uniting theme in his work and himself as a work of art. Interestingly he suspends this way of working in the maps, so that the reference remains clear, though they are explicitly self portraiture. It seems the artist sacrifices his style for these works to know himself more completely. Map making requires a certain degree of stripping away and precision so that the directions can stay clear.

Bild 719

Perry was inspired for the etching titled The Map of Nowhere, from historical map of the earth centered around the body of Christ. Instead of the son of God, the artist has placed himself as the center of the world, with light for the seekers of higher consciousness shining straight from his “bum hole”.

This is a wonderful write-up of the work from the British Council collection where the piece is collected.  Below is a brief video of an interview with the artists on the creation and inspiration for the work. http://collection.britishcouncil.org/collection/artists/perry-grayson-1960/object/map-of-nowhere-perry-2008-p8194

Another significant work in this style is the Map of an Englishman. Printed on four large plates to give the work the look of having been folded, extra ink was also allowed to stay on the plates to give it the feeling of period authenticity.

gp114_map-of-an-englishman_1_2004

This blog post below has some wonderful images of the map close up and a solid discussion of the work itself. The maps are both achievements of scale and intimate drawings, revealing more and more with closer study.

http://socks-studio.com/2012/02/25/a-phrenology-of-the-artists-mind-grayson-perrys-2004-map-of-an-englishman/

Map of Days is a self-portrait based on maps of the fortified towns of renaissance Europe. In discussing this work Perry likens the self to a walled city, separate from its surroundings, but dependent on them.

map of days

http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw260594/Map-of-Days

The video below is from a British television series called All in the Best Possible Taste that Grayson Perry hosted in 2012. In the series he explores the taste standards of the classes in England as he prepares to make 6 large tapestries on the subject. I’ve included it here because it shows the artists meticulous process and his drawing as he considers composition of the tapestries.

ceramic art

International Top 10: Grayson Perry

article-2545301-1AEE602100000578-938_634x738

It is difficult to know where to begin in writing about Grayson Perry.  He is such a complex and multi faceted artist, for one, ceramic is only a part of what he does, though it does seems to be his primary medium. But also that his work can not be discussed with out discussing him as well.  Aside from being a transvestite he is the only ceramist to have won the Turner Prize ( 2003).  Here he is above dressed as “an Italian mother of the bride” receiving a CSM from Prince Charles.  This is a rather conservative outfit for Mr. Perry, his typical preference is super feminine and incredibly decorative

Grayson Perry

This style reflects the look of his work.  First and most importantly for me is that they are for the most part pots, like his clothes, are well made and heavily decorated.

Grayson Perry 1 grayson-perry-over-rainbow

There are typically layers of images and text that revolve around a theme, often sex, contemporary culture and class as they relate to himself and his life as a transvestite.

On the surface he doesn’t really fit the criteria I set down in the beginning of the blog, but looking deeper, or even better, doing a google search for Grayson Perry, brings an avalanche of images, lectures, websites and articles.  Not just in art journals either but many from English newspapers.  Grayson Perry owns himself, his name and his images in a way that a digital media marketer can only envy.  I would attribute much of this to his collaboration with British culture, and understanding the roll of the artist in relation to his culture.  Sadly I can’t find a way to watch this series of television shows starring Perry, but here is the trailer to give you a feel for the depth of his influence.

He thinks deeply and is well spoken and there are many interviews and lectures that feature Perry, but I chose these 3.  They are parts of a great long lecture he gave for Central Saint Martins.  He gives wonderful explanation for his work and his influences.  The first section features a brief stop motion video of his making process that give great insight into the importance of craft in his making.