Saturday, 2 November 2013

Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl

I've just finished reading Wendy Jones's biography of Grayson Perry, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl. It's an interesting but oddly written book; constructed in the first person as though the taped conversations, mentioned by Jones at the beginning, have been merely transcribed. I think this must be the case as the language is quite simple - not at all how Perry speaks during interviews about his work. Jones has written a couple of children's books so I wonder if it has been aimed at a younger audience... Or maybe the idea is to give the impression of a therapy session. There is certainly a confessional element to it; Perry talks at length about how his transvesticism developed and the sexual elements of it.

I have great admiration for Perry as an artist (and as a person obviously) and although I found the language somewhat dull and clunky, the content of the book was interesting. It's a fairly brief insight into his early years, through art college (his description of which was so like my own experience it was disturbing) and out the other side to the pottery evening classes he attended. If you want to know what he thinks about art however, you won't really find it here. Listen instead to his Reith Lectures series, Playing to the Gallery, on BBC iPlayer. Brilliant, intelligent, thought-provoking and funny.

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