Grayson Perry on why art is for everyone: "I do things where I'm rubbish at it and I still enjoy them”

Virgin Radio

27 Feb 2021, 13:14

Art has provided comfort for many people throughout the pandemic, and Grayson’s Art Club has become a must-watch show.

Grayson Perry joined the Graham Norton Radio Show this morning to talk about the show and how it came about. “It seems to be weirdly popular” he laughs. “I'm on television at eight o'clock, which is kind of weird for me.”

“The show came together very quickly. My collaborator and director said as the lockdown was looming, that we need to do something,  and he came up with the idea. I think within a month, we were on the air. It was a very quick” recalls Grayson.

“We film it in three days, the week before the broadcast. So we've just finished yesterday filming episode two. So it's very quick, but then I've been doing a lot of preparation with the art” he explains.

“You know, art takes ages to do, so I do some of it in advance to get it ready.”

It’s been a surreal experience filming during a pandemic: “We had these little robot cameras dotted about the studio. You don’t forget that they're there as such, but occasionally I'll look at one and ask, ‘are you filming’ and the camera will nod!” It’s the future.

For Grayson, the joy of the show is about the stories: “It's about people really. All culture is about telling people's stories, that’s what we try to bring out, it’s about that experience of sharing. It's not necessarily about how to paint a tree properly.”

If you’ve ever watched an art programme and felt intimidated, Grayson insists you shouldn’t be: “This is a golden opportunity to say, you know, you don't have to be Leonardo da Vinci. I do things where I'm rubbish at it and I still enjoy them.”

“I think that everybody can have a go. Some people turn out to be amazingly good, and they didn't realise it. Some people get a lot out of it. You know, it's not just about the skill element of it, it's also about the emotional sort of commitment and what it does in your life, what it does for you,” he insists.

Don’t be afraid if you don’t feel like an expert, either: “You don't expect to go into a classical music venue and understand it all straight away. So it’s the same with art, you go into an art gallery and a lot of it is mystifying.”

“You learn more and then you enrich your experience of it. With any kind of cultural activity, the more you know about it, you get obsessed about it, and the more you enjoy it.”

Catch Grayson’s Art Club every Friday at 8pm on Channel 4.