Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

Areas of Interest

Arts

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Arts, 2012

Biography

Untitled Page

Grayson Perry is a ceramic artist, social critic and winner of the 2003 Turner Prize.

Born in Chelmsford, Grayson's formal introduction to art took place in 1978 when he completed a foundation course at Braintree College. He then went on to study for his BA in Fine Art at Portsmouth Polytechnic, graduating in 1982.

In 1983 Grayson began studying and working with pottery. He found a way to explore themes as diverse as war, gender and society, and cultural stereotypes - and to create a unique style that was to define his career. By the end of 1983 Grayson was exhibiting at the Ian Birksted Gallery in London; in 1985 at the Gallozi e La Placa in New York; in 1986 in Rome and by 1989 in Tokyo. By the start of the 1990s Grayson's ceramics were being bought and sold around the world.

Grayson is best known for creating classically shaped vases covered with images and text that, from a distance, appear decorative and colourful, but which upon closer inspection reveal their dark and frequently disturbing subject matter, often influenced by his childhood experiences growing up in rural Essex. He is loyal to classical traditions of pottery, slowly building the clay layer by layer rather than using a potter's wheel.

In 2003 Grayson was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize and famously turned up to receive his award dressed as his alter-ego Claire, wearing a lilac dress and a ribbon in his hair. Since winning the Turner Prize, Grayson has become something of a public figure, featuring in a number of television appearances.



Citation

"Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Grayson Perry for the award of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa.

Grayson Perry is a ceramic artist, social critic and winner of the 2003 Turner Prize.

Born in Chelmsford in 1960, Grayson's formal introduction to art took place in 1978 when he completed a foundation course at Braintree College. He then went on to study for his BA in Fine Art at Portsmouth Polytechnic, graduating in 1982.

In the early 1980s Grayson experimented with a variety of media, including live performance and film, but it was in 1983 when he began studying and working with pottery that he found a way to explore themes as diverse as war, gender and society, and cultural stereotypes - and to create a unique style that was to define his career. By the end of 1983 he was exhibiting at the Ian Birksted Gallery in London; in 1985 at the Gallozi e La Placa in New York; in 1986 in Rome and by 1989 in Tokyo. By the start of the 1990s Grayson's ceramics were being admired, talked about, and bought and sold around the world.

He is best known for creating classically shaped vases covered with images and text that, from a distance, appear decorative and colourful, but which upon closer inspection reveal their dark and frequently disturbing subject matter, often influenced by his childhood experiences growing up in rural Essex. Grayson is loyal to classical traditions of pottery, using the archaic method of coiling to make his vases - slowly building the clay layer by layer rather than using a potter's wheel. As a craftsman, Grayson possesses extraordinary skill which he marries with a unique insight into contemporary society, creating works of art that are thought-provoking, exciting, and sometimes shocking.

For all his success over a 20 year period, Grayson remained largely unknown outside of the art world. Yet this was to change in 2003 when he was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize and famously turned up to receive his award dressed as his alter-ego Claire, wearing a lilac dress and a ribbon in his hair. Since winning the Turner Prize Grayson has become something of a public figure, featuring in a number of television appearances including the BBC's Question Time, Hard Talk, and Desert Island Discs, when his music choices included Motorhead, Tony Bennett and Phillip Glass. In 2006 he was the subject of an episode of the South Bank Show which paid tribute to his work and in 2011 he was featured in the documentary Imagine.

Grayson has often been critical of the art world, frequently poking fun at what he sees as the 'concept of cool', with his actions having won him as many detractors as supporters. Today he lives and works in London.

Grayson is a remarkable artist, creating thought-provoking, challenging and uncompromising works that have made him one of the most admired artists of his generation. He is a genuine celebrity whose works now change hands for tens of thousands of pounds and his work will inspire our creative arts students.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Grayson Perry for the award of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa."