|Grayson Perry, a potter who has
a female alter-ego called Claire, has won this year's Turner
In his purple party frock at Sunday's Turner ceremony,
Grayson Perry seemed to revel in the fact that he was not the
stereotypical cool, fashion-conscious modern artist.
Normally, critics of the prize argue that their young
children could have taken the winner's place and made an
On Sunday, Perry looked willing to take them up on the offer,
as long as he could swap places with the children too.
In much of Perry's work, there is a sense of a childhood that
he lost and has forever struggled to regain.
They feature photographs of his family, images of
masculine stereotypes he never lived up to and memories of rural
Born in Chelmsford, Essex, in 1960, his parents split up when
he was five and his stepfather, the milkman, was a bully.
So Perry's teddy, Alan Measles, became "my surrogate father".
Meanwhile, the seeds of his transvestitism were sown when he
was six or seven, he has said, and his interest in pottery was
aroused shortly after.
He was made to wear a tight rubber smock during his first
pottery lesson - making an ashtray for his mother - and "became
very excited at the feeling".
He studied art in Braintree and Portsmouth and moved to
London in the early 1980s, falling in with a group called the
They took part in performance and film works, but decided to
go on an evening course to rekindle his interest in ceramics.
The first plate he made there was called
Kinky Sex and depicted a crude crucifixion. The course of his
career had been set.
He slowly began to make a name
for himself and, by 1994, had become notorious enough that the
pottery establishment was "baying for his blood", according to
one report at the time.
Another theme of his work has been poking
fun at "boring cool people" in the art world and the banality of
society as a whole.
A vase called Posh Bastard's House
ridiculed the concept of cool, while Poor In Spirit depicted
people who had become rich but miserable.
He has said his work has always used a
"guerrilla tactic" to marry a biting message with a normally
"I want to make something that lives with
the eye as a beautiful piece of art, but on closer inspection, a
polemic or an ideology will come out of it," he has said.
Since his nomination in May, he has become
known outside art circles and the public have taken to him and
He is a skilled craftsman - so many people
admire him because he makes something that they could not.
But his messages also touch them with
their satire, sadness, anger, humour and hurt.