Greyson Perry’s answers


I first became aware of the artist Grayson Perry a few years ago, not through his art at first, but through interviews, and the television and radio programmes he made. Perry sometimes wears women’s clothes and makeup, rides a brightly coloured motorcycle and has a teddy bear called Alan Measles. I like Perry. He seems very intelligent,
questioning, empathetic, courageous, generous and motivated by good intentions. I noticed a newspaper article where he was being asked questions by readers, and recognised, in his answers, parallels with my own experience of making things. For example Grayson’s answer to the 2nd question below reflects the many times I have found the third or fourth piece of writing I do in a row is the one I want to keep and work on. He says ‘Work makes ideas, work comes out of work’ . I can relate to that.

Here are a few of the questions and answers I found most interesting. You can read in full by clicking the link below.

For you, where does value come from?
It makes my life meaningful. I love a project that gives my life a bit of motivation, and it uses up your time in a really good way.

I love a blank canvas, a fresh start. What about you?
I’m not a great fan of the blank canvas. I think my best work usually comes towards the end of a batch of work, when I’ve got in the zone. Work makes ideas, work comes out of work. I’m in that phase at the moment where I’m getting back into my studio practice, and I always find the first couple of pieces are a bit muddled. So I don’t like that blank canvas feeling – I like to be on the go.

Artists often experience periods of doubt and low confidence. Has this ever happened to you, and how do you overcome it?
I think I’m addicted to periods of doubt and low confidence. I think you should worry if you don’t have them because then you’re not trying hard enough. If you’re sure that everything you’re going to do is going to be good, then what’s the point? I used to think of it as just crippling self-doubt. Now I kind of see it as a sign that I’m teetering on the edge of something new. Or troubling.

Are all motives governed by self-interest?
I think there is probably a bit of truth in that. The phrase that is around a lot is “virtue signalling”, but we’ve evolved to virtue signal because we want to be seen as a good member of the group. If your group approves of altruistic acts, then you do altruistic acts in order to get status.

The full article is here

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