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What Things Say About Us

Perry, Grayson (b. 1960), Not dated, Earthenware, H. 56.5

An English potter, painter, textile artist and broadcaster, Grayson Perry was born in Chelmsford, Essex. During his childhood he was interested in drawing and in building model aeroplanes. He discovered at an early age that he liked to dress up in women’s clothes. Perry studied for a BA in Fine Art at Portsmouth Polytechnic and, after graduating in 1982, went on to study pottery at evening classes, where he met his wife, a psychotherapist and writer. Perry’s pots refer to classical traditions, such as ancient Greek pottery. For him, the classical shapes of his pots make them an ‘invisible’ base on which to make his statements. They are not intended for decorative effect, but to express his ideas and to provoke thought. In 2003, when Perry won the Turner Prize, it was the first occasion on which it had been awarded to a ceramic artist. Perry collected his prize dressed as Claire, his alter-ego, wearing a little girl style party frock. In 2013, Perry was appointed a CBE for his services to contemporary art. In 2014 Perry gave the BBC’s annual Reith Lectures, the first visual artist to be invited to do so. He gave a series of talks, entitled <i>Playing to the Gallery</i>, in which he spoke about contemporary art. Perry has also won a BAFTA award as a documentary maker, for ‘The Best Specialist Factual Programme’. In addition to pottery and film-making, Perry has also worked in textile art, creating tapestries and embroidery. His pot entitled <i>What Things Say About Us</i> was bought with the aid of a contribution from the LAFC in 2003</span>