Grayson Perry on popularity, pottery and class: ‘I still enjoy looking for discomfort in the faces of the overeducated’

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Grayson Perry, the renowned artist and pottery, recently revealed in an interview that he considers himself to be a traditional artist at heart. Despite his wide range of artistic ventures and accomplishments, Perry emphasized that he focuses on aesthetics and the visual appeal of his work. He believes that many artists today overlook the importance of creating visually pleasing art and instead focus too heavily on addressing social issues.

Perry’s latest exhibition, titled “Smash Hits,” is currently on display at the National Galleries of Scotland. It showcases his work from the past 40 years and includes colorful pots, picture maps, and neon tapestries inspired by Hogarth. Perry acknowledges that while his art does touch on various themes such as identity, gender, class, taste, and religion, he does not consider all of his activities as part of his visual art.

Despite his success and popularity, Perry remains refreshingly open and accessible. He personally answers the door to his studio and engages in conversations as though he has known the person for years. He dresses casually, often wearing a pink T-shirt and colorful dungarees. Perry is unafraid to express his frank opinions on various topics, dismissing individuals who take themselves too seriously or artists who fail to consider the audience’s enjoyment and aesthetic pleasure in their work.

Perry’s art has resonated with many due to its blend of self-mocking craftsmanship and edgy humor. His work often challenges societal norms and expectations, with a hint of rebelliousness. However, Perry believes that true popularity is often frowned upon by the contemporary art establishment. Nevertheless, he has managed to maintain his popularity and has not faced any significant backlash throughout his career.

In the interview, Perry discusses his love for “outsider artists,” individuals who create art without formal training. He recognizes the shared characteristics between his work and that of artists like Henry Darger, who depicted fantastical battles between armies of baby girls. Perry’s interest in these artists aligns with the tradition of past artists who drew inspiration from unconventional figures.

Overall, Grayson Perry’s career has been marked by his ability to merge traditional aesthetics with thought-provoking themes. He continues to challenge the boundaries of what art can be while always considering the visual appeal of his work. His latest exhibition aims to engage viewers and elicit their interpretations, showcasing a colorful and captivating retrospective of his artistic journey.

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