[twocol_one_first] [/twocol_one_first][twocol_one_last] As huge fans of the man who is best known simply as ‘the transvestite potter’, to say we were excited to meet and photograph Grayson Perry exclusively backstage, before his fourth and final Reith Lecture would be an understatement. To round off his series of prestigious talks for BBC Radio 4, Grayson spoke in the Platform Theatre at CSM to a crowd of industry professionals and students alike. The question he set out to answer, one of which many of the audience were no doubt eager to hear his take on, was “how does one become a contemporary artist?”
Of course, Grayson’s outfit was something we were naturally keen to see, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Wearing the winner of this year’s Grayson Perry Project, Fashion Print student Wataru Tominaga, Grayson explained that to mourn the end of his thought-provoking talks, he “decided to flirt with the cliché of the sad clown”.
In the final of the series of lectures, Grayson made references to childhood expressionism, reiterating the significance of ‘play’ within art- something that most of us lose the ability to do by the time we reach our teens. “You have to be able to let yourself go, in order to make good art“, he explained. He also urged the importance of art school education, and while he admits that art outside of these parameters is no doubt beautifully unmarred, “it is very difficult to have a career as an artist if you’ve not been to art school.” Added to that, and reassuringly for students, “art college is a place to get it wrong and make mistakes”, and consequentially, learn from them.
His closing note was one observing the diversity of aesthetic and expression that art as a practice encompasses: “everyone is different; there’s no recipe for becoming an artist.” The range of arts and fashion Central Saint Martins alumni- and successes- is certainly testament to that.
… Of course we also had to hold him back for questioning, and given the nature of the Grayson Perry Project, and his eccentric “sad clown” get-up, we couldn’t help but wonder if there is anything he wouldn’t wear. The answer? An exclamatory “NO! Not at all… I’ll wear anything.” His most recent acquisition a “floor-length, day-glo, fun, fur coat” from a CSM fashion show. He wouldn’t wear it any old place though, well… certainly not Tesco’s. He does have standards, and the produce of CSM’s creatives can do better than the aisles housing supermarket veg.