BIOGRAPHY//Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl- Wendy Jones

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Recently I was lucky to get tickets to review Grayon Perry’s Brighton leg of his speaking tour but I realised that as much as I enjoyed reading his interviews, I didn’t know a lot about him. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl is an interesting book that charts Perry’s early life in a working-class Essex household with dysfunctional parents to the end of his student days and the first years of his career as an artist.

Presented in his own words, like an extended interview, it did at time feel a bit like Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’ but for grown ups; in it we learn about his strained relationships with the parental figures in his life, the development of his transvestism and alter-ego Claire, his years living in squats in London and the sense of insecurity his childhood gave him as an adult. It’s a funny and frank look at how Perry became the person he is today, as well as charting the changing way he has viewed his art (which he is now trying to trace a lot of, having lost it in the last 30-odd years.)

I found it a great read and felt especially prepared for the talk, which I heartily recommend if you can get to a show. I felt that I understood one of our most celebrated living artists a bit better.

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