Turner prize winner Grayson Perry gives talk at Finsbury Park school - in full drag
PUBLISHED: 12:38 15 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:41 16 January 2015
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World famous transvestite artist wears "nice dress to cheer everyone up" as he gives advice to students
Mr Perry’s pearls of wisdom
“Jamie Oliver is the patron saint of class mobility, although he’s gone a bit quiet at the moment.
“For all the rhetoric about meritocracy and working class people moving up the social ladder, someone has to come down. You don’t hear so much about thick upper-middle class people dropping down do you?
“There’s nothing middle class people like more than a reference, because they can show off their education.,”
On street art
“It’s the equivalent of someone playing their records really loudly in their car. It might be my favourite song, but I don’t want to f*****g hear it now”
On art college
“I’m not sure what it is, but spend three years at art college and you get it.
“People used to complain about Central St Martins being too cold and things getting stolen, now they complain its too hot and the security is oppressive. that show art students are the same as everybody else.”
“After going to art college, like going to Oxbridge, you can be educated out of your own background.”
On a career on art
“The median wage for an artist is just £10,000 a year. This is not a job if you want to get rich quick.”
“Don’t forget that it’s what people want to do in their leisure time. They don’t want to sit on an uncomfortable bench watching an impenetrably boring video. If you are authentically bland, you’ll probably make a lot of money in your career.”
On being a transvestite
“For a 14-year-old boy your worst nightmare is walking down the street dressed as a woman, but that’s what a transvestite wants to do. So half of me was horrified. I knew enough to know it wasn’t something you brag about in the playground.
World famous cross-dressing pottery artist Grayson Perry CBE headed to a Finsbury Park School last night to give a talk about his career.
The Turner-prize winner, resplendent in a dress, orange tights and blue PVC platforms, delivered an engaging lecture at Islington Arts and Media School, in Turle Road, to a select audience – including eight art students.
Mr Perry, well known for his ceramic, sculpture, tapestry and TV work, discussed the ups and downs of his career as well as the potential pitfalls for youngster considering a life working in the arts.
He said: “I want to talk about my experience and how I see this industry I’m in.
“Generally when I am doing these talks I throw a load of slides together and work out what I’m going to say afterwards.
“Post-rationalisation, that’s the key - you’ll find that very useful as an artist.”
He added: “People don’t just pop out as artists. It’s the old nature versus nurture debate. In my experience it’s pretty much all nurture, and school is a big part of that.
“Parents don’t always realise there are breeding creative people, especially if they are doing it by f*****g them up.”
“I get to do what I want as my job. But it’s hard, because you need to know what you want, which isn’t easy. Just ask my psychotherapist.”
He advised the budding artists to “take play seriously” and not to be overwhelmed by the huge array of influences and choice now available in the palm of their hand.
“Don’t be afraid to be who you are, when you, where you are, “ he said.
“Do you think Rapheal was worried about what people in China would think in 2015? No he just got on with it.
“Be uncool,“ he added. “If it’s cool it means your following other people. If you’re trying to be innovative it’s good to do something a bit naff.
“I like to wear the kind of outfit I need to take a deep breath before I go out of the door. New levels of embarrassment.”
He said the students should want to make art, rather than just wanting to be artists, as “that’s what you’ll be doing most of the time”.
After the lecture, Mr Perry spent time with the students discussing their own work.
The presentation represents a coup for the school, and came about because headteacher Diana Osagie and Mr Perry are fellow governors at the University of Arts, London.
Ms Osaige said: “We cannot imagine a world where pupils lose their entitlement to be taught mathematics or science, but nationally we allow arts education to be trimmed almost to nothing.
“Within our learning community we embrace the Arts as a valuable 5 year entitlement and enrichment to the academic curriculum.
”The Grayson Perry Lecture affirms our commitment to the debate of Arts education in our schools today.”