Six things we learned from Grayson Perry talk in York

Giving a royal wave, Grayson Perry sits alongside Valerie Sinason for his conversation at the Yorkshire Museum. Photograph: YorkMix
16 May 2014 @ 2.36 pm
| News
Giving a royal wave, Grayson Perry sits alongside Valerie Sinason for his conversation at the Yorkshire Museum. Photograph: YorkMix
Giving a regal wave, Grayson Perry sits alongside Valerie Sinason for his conversation at the Yorkshire Museum. Photograph: YorkMix

mix-six-logo-rightIt was almost like a royal visit. Artist Grayson Perry toured the Museum Gardens in the evening sunshine, meeting and greeting York teddy bears and their owners.

But unlike the Queen, Grayson has something to say. And those fortunate enough to have tickets to the free Grayson Perry In Conversation event at Tempest Anderson Hall in the Yorkshire Museum on Thursday (May 15) were treated to 45 minutes of wit and wisdom.

Read more about Grayson’s visit here. Meanwhile, here’s what we discovered from his talk…

1. He was (quite) happy to be here

Psychoanalyst Valerie Sinason, who chatted to Grayson on stage, began by congratulating York on its achievement in bringing the cross-dressing potter to the city.

“I don’t hate the north that much,” replied Grayson.

2. Alan Measles is more than a teddy bear

So important is Alan Measles to Grayson that the teddy bear was replaced by a stunt double in a British Museum exhibition.

At home the bear sits on a throne on the artist’s desk.

“Somehow, through all the turmoils of my childhood and teenage years and squatting and going to college, he’s the only thing that’s survived, physically,” said Grayson.

“He’s the only relic and witness to my childhood. He was the ruler of my imagination.

“He’s the first thing I would rescue in a fire. Probably after my daughter.”

3. Workaholics are missing out

Adults forget how to play. But you need to find time to have fun, Grayson told the audience.

“People who are workaholics and don’t give themselves time for messing about aren’t really living properly.”

Keep on dreaming up crazy ideas too.

“If you have a stupid idea, make a note of it. Don’t push it away.

“I have notebooks full of daft ideas and I might refer to them years later, when they become big things.”

4. The internet only takes you so far

“The tangibility of experience, the here and now, is becoming heightened because we live so much through the internet,” Grayson said.

As a potter he has escaped the worst of its effects on the creative sector.

“Making stuff, I can still flog it and it’s not downloadable on the internet like everybody else’s stuff is.”

5. Disney is a big toad

Given Disney’s appropriation of princess stories, “I worry that every little girl in the world is having the same fantasy,” said Grayson.

“Disney is like some big toad on sitting on the minds of children.”

But it’s not only the Mickey Mouse corporation that should shoulder the blame.

“I was recently in a school talking to six-year-old children about their teddy bears and I was horrified that one had an M&M branded toy. Part of me was repulsed by this.”

6. Being a star ain’t so grand

“It’s a luxury to be anonymous,” Grayson said. Although he confessed that when he dresses as Claire, his female alter ego, he does court attention.

“There’s always a political element of walking around in a frock. I enjoy it – of course I enjoy it, because I’m a tranny pervert.”

Even so, being recognised can be wearing.

“I meet a few famous people now in the course of my life.

“We often swap stories of the nightmare of being on the train and somebody opposite pretending to text and then slowly lifting their phone up…”