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The Lowdown on Investment: Grayson Perry
Editorial / Artists

The Lowdown on Investment: Grayson Perry

3 Mar 2023 | 5 min read

It's hard to pick just one reason why Turner Prize-winning artist, Grayson Perry, is a great artist to invest your money in.

As one of Britain's best-known contemporary artists, specialising in pottery and embroidery, we take you through five reasons why you should invest in his work.

1. Artistic Merit

Grayson Perry is a critically acclaimed artist who has won numerous awards and gained widespread recognition over the past two decades.

Perry was the first potter to be awarded the Turner Prize in 2003; the judging panel admired his ability to use traditional ceramics whilst engaging with personal and social issues. He has since received the Erasmus Prize, two BAFTA awards for Best Specialist Factual and, as of 2023, he has been given a knighthood for services to the arts in the King’s New Year Honours.

Grayson Perry as Claire, his female alter-ego, alongside one of his ceramic works.

Grayson Perry as Claire, his female alter-ego, alongside one of his ceramic works.

Via Pinterest

2. Unique Style and Versatility

Perry works in a variety of mediums, including tapestries and printmaking but is perhaps best known for his intricate ceramics. Combining traditional techniques with contemporary themes, his work is visually striking and combines humour, irony, and wit to engage the viewer.

Having had solo shows nationally and internationally, his 2002 exhibition, Guerrilla Tactics, showed at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Barbican, London. This exhibit featured 45 pots alongside a number of drawings, photographs, embroidery pieces, four quilts and two super-8 films.

And if you find yourself in London this month, you can spend time admiring his beautifully complex tapestries at Victoria Miro, until March 25th 2023.

Installation view of Posh Cloths at Victoria Miro, London

Installation view of Posh Cloths at Victoria Miro, London

Jack Hems

3. Cultural Significance

Perry's work addresses themes of gender, identity, and social class, making it significant within the contemporary art world. He is unafraid of dealing with serious subjects such as violence, prejudices, sexual suppression and questioning societal beliefs.

Speaking about his print, Sponsored By You, Perry says:

“There are a few nice details that I enjoyed drawing, such as the brakes on the wheels which are 'Guilt', and the engine which is 'Pure Greed'. The fuel cap takes 'Unregulated market'. 'Social mobility' is the roadkill caught under the tyres. The hovering bald eagle in the sky is the 'Inequality' of the American dream. On the back of the car it says 'LUX-embourg' and 'UWO', Unexplained Wealth Order. The phrases 'Win-win' and 'Trickle down' are there too: the idea that wealth somehow miraculously trickles down and we all benefit from it, which is complete nonsense.”

4. High Demand

Perry's works are in high demand and fetch high prices at auctions, making them a potentially lucrative investment.

His ceramic vases perform well at auction, with his glazed acidic yellow vessel entitled, I Want To Be An Artist, fetching in excess of £630,000 in October 2017 at Christie’s London.

More recently, in 2022 – also at Christie's – one of his tapestries entitled, The Adoration of the Cage Fighters (from The Vanity of Small Differences), exceeded its high estimate and sold for £176,400.

More than 60% of Perry's artwork at auction sold at or above the high estimate in 2022.

Grayson Perry, The Adoration of Cage Fighters, 2012, tapestry

Grayson Perry, The Adoration of Cage Fighters, 2012, tapestry

Courtesy Arts Council Collection

5. Popularity

Perry's work is popular among art collectors and enthusiasts, further driving demand for his pieces.

After receiving the Turner Prize, dressed as his female alter-ego Claire, Perry was asked by a journalist “are you a loveable character or are you a serious artist?” to which he pragmatically replies – does it have to be either or?

Compared to other YBAs of his time, Perry has simply adopted a more humble and humorous presence. His loveable nature extended through to the British public during the lockdown of 2020 when he broadcast Grayson’s Art Club on television alongside his wife, Phillipa.

He used his natural warmth and good humour to encourage viewers to spend this worrisome time making art alongside him, emphasising the creative potential of boredom and confinement.

As well as being part of notable collections in the UK, including the British Museum and the V&A, Perry reaches far and wide into international collections such as the Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, MoMA and Stedelijk Museum.

Grayson & Philippa Perry

Grayson & Philippa Perry

Courtesy Channel 4

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