Archive for December 12, 2012

Artist of the moment….Grayson Perry…

Grayson Perry is a British sculptor who was born in 1960 in Chelmsford in the United Kingdom. He grew up with his mother as his father walked out on his mother after she had an affair.  The artist talks about this being a very traumatic experience for him. His stepfather was sometimes violent towards him and this caused him to do things by himself, to become a loner.

He loved to draw and build model airplanes. (Its what young kids did before the Xbox!)  His favorite place to go was to the shed. It became his escape from his stepfather and he even had a best friend that happened to be a teddy bear that Perry named “Alan Measels.”

The artist had different sexual fantasies and was a cross dresser from a young age. In his teens he started dressing as woman and then going out on the town. He was found out by his parents and had many issues with his stepfather and mother over his cross dressing.

For his collegiate education the artist earned a bachelors degree in fine art from Portsmouth Polytech.

The artist is well known for being a cross dresser. He talks about being an individual in this clip.

He joined a group called the Neo Naturals. They would live their life naked and give shows and live perfomances celebrating the human body. A very sixties activity!

Perry has been estranged from his mother since 1990. His stepfather told him not to return when he left for school in 1979. He lived with pop star Boy George (before he was famous of course with the group WHAM! ) and reknown milliner Stephen Jones. For those of us on this side the pond ( not living in the the U.K.) a milliner is a person who designs or works with hats. The kind made famous by the new Princess of England. Here were these three great artists who would become famous in the decades to follow, living and sharing a small space together. The three would have competitions to see who could wear the most outlandish outfit to their favorite nightclub.

His first formal showing of his ceramic work was in 1983. In 2003 he won the coveted Turner prize for his ceramic work and attended the award show as his alter ego complete with dress.

I enjoy this artist for not being afraid to be who he is. For me I question celebrities who wear meat or outrageous clothes just for attention. Here we have someone that has worn womens clothing since a teenager.  I enjoy the very open mind of this artist and the fact the had to overcome such a difficult childhood with his father leaving the family and then his own issues with the family and cross dressing.

He now lives with his wife Philippa Perry who is a psychotherapist, what a strange combination! They have one child.

His price ranges are varied as he works in many mediums. Watercolors can be found by four to ten thousand dollars. Terracotta works can be found from 6 to $84,000. Etchings can be found from $20,000 to $57,000. Ceramics can be found from $2500 to $45,000


Another quite entertaining interview with the artist and some of his creations.

As the artist enjoys wearing women’s clothing he even has named his feminine alter ego “Claire.”

Grayson Perry was the winner of the 2003 Turner prize.

Artist of the moment…..Brett Cook Dizney….

Brett Cook- Dizney is an artist that now spends much of his time painting faces of people. Much of his work is mural size public commissions so he paints them quite large. His style is one where he uses a lot of color in depicting faces. He also has done works in ink is an excellent draughtsman.

Brett Cook- Dizney was born in 1968 in San Francisco, California.

For his collegiate education the artist went to the University of California at Berkeley.

The artist hasn’t had much work sold at auctions and the only price I was able to find was $1250 for an ink done of Harriet Tubman.

Like other great street artists Swoon and Crash, Brett Cook Dizney started off by showing his artwork on abandoned buildings in places like Brooklyn and Harlem, New York.  His work is great for the community as he uses actual people from the neighborhood in his murals.

A link to the artist’s own personal website:

Brett  Cook- Dizney also creates some fantastic installation work that combines his graffiti skills, his painting skills, and sometimes photographs and text to provide the viewer with a great background for his ideas. Of the artists I have written about lately I would say he reminds of Betye. Saar makes some great sculptures and installations also with photographs that show her mixed racial background. Below is a great example of her signature style. The piece is a mixed media masterpiece that involves painting, photography, and is made on a window.


The artist has shown his work at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The artist talking about his views on peace!

A show given by Brett Cook-Dizney that showed many African-American celebrities: Watch as people help to fill in the lines that Cook-Dizney created. Very similar to the Sand Animation for New Years we saw from Sadarshan Pattnaik. This event took place near San Francisco, California.

In this fantastic clip the artist tells us why he enjoys using community members in his mural art. He enjoys telling the story of the local community members. He does much research in his work, sometimes taking up to one year to before starting his project. Its great that the community helps to produce the art. Many people feel inspired and motivated by helping to do their part at improving their community. If everyone is engaged, people won’t feel the need to destroy it.  The people learn to care about things again.

Brett Cook-Dizney is a great artist who shows us what a mural painter can do for a community. Sure its great to see mural art like John Pugh, very trompe like in appearance and it causes people to stop and stare. But Cook-Dizney takes his art one step further by allowing the community to help participate in the creatino of his artwork! A celebration of art for all involved.