Architecture and Ceramics
I like Grayson Perry and I like his art and I’m not going to pretend I don’t for a minute longer!
Perry doesn’t know how to throw [like me] so he coils all his pots. He calls the forms ‘invisible’ because he takes them from history books and the viewer doesn’t really see the pot as anything but a curved surface.
His pots usually have a lovely shiny lustre glaze, which is technically quite difficult to achieve, although he may use pre-mixed glazes to give a more consistent result.
There are numerous decoration techniques working together in and on the surface of each pot; stamping, sprigging, masking, slip trailing, painting with various slips, photo transfer, decals and scribing. There’s A LOT going on. The gold pot with the trees in the foreground is called ‘We’ve Found The Body Of Your Child’.
Perry is very concerned with doing things that interest him, and I think he has a fascinating way of making art that pleases himself. He talks about not boring himself, and that the technical difficulty of making pots is what keeps him interested, but he’s not exclusively a ceramic artist, and makes many works on fabric.
The theme of not getting into a creative rut is something that I’ve been interested in for a while. Jamie Reid, who designed the Sex Pistols’ album covers said that at art school he painted more and more minimally, paring down his palette to black and white, and basically painted himself into a hole and had to leave the course. You can see how easy that would be to do; to start with an experiment and take it to its logical conclusion while destroying any creative part of the process.
In contrast, Perry says he is interested in an ‘old fashioned sense of beauty’, where busy-ness and shininess, and surface decoration really work together to create something aesthetically pleasing.
In the book Guerilla Tactics, Andrew Wilson says Perry ‘…employs elements of parody in his work while still retaining an authentic voice’. I think this really sums the work up in a nutshell. You simply can’t give out a strong message without the technique and skill to back it up. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with clay, inspired by Perry’s pots.