Text by Alice Kemp, MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins
It was another normal day in my studio except today I was going for a little detour in the afternoon. I was lucky enough to be picked to go and meet Grayson Perry in his studio with students from all across UAL. I am so privileged to study in a uni that is so posh and prestigious that we get to do things like this. I wonder if the students at Portsmouth Polytechnic, where Perry studied, get to do this kind of thing.
My research paper for my masters in Fine Art, which I have just handed in, was about the Decorative in contemporary painting. I have struggled for my paintings of cats and flowers to be taken seriously. They always get dismissed as being not serious enough or feminine. Maybe if I were a man they wouldn’t be? Anyway Grayson Perry helped me to realise that there is nothing wrong with me using the Decorative. In an attempt to break away from what we see as ‘high art’ and good taste Perry uses the Decorative in his work. He said, ‘I want to let my tackier impulses flower’. He is a confident artist who speaks clearly and honestly. He makes life sound simple and people interesting. He is very open minded and generous.
His studio is a lot smaller than you would imagine for such a famous artist. The pottery area is only 12m long and a few wide and then there is a bigger open space with lovely beams and a high ceiling with lots of windows to let in light. In this area there is a cosy corner with a sofa and table, a small kitchen, a desk with books. Grayson Perry’s studio is cosy but fresh, open but intimate and private but welcoming – dare I say it in case I offend him, it is very stylish and tasteful too.