1Granary gleefully presents Grayson Perry Project, especially shot for I-D Online.
Central Saint Martins’ 2nd year Fashion Print students, for the eighth consecutive year, had the joy of upgrading the wondrous wardrobe of Britain’s most celebrated artist, teddy-loving transvestite and University of the Arts Governor – Grayson Perry. The project started in 2004 when “Claire” – Grayson’s inner girl, went for shopping and run into Natalie Gibson – our beloved print tutor and lover of all pink, on the bus.
On the last day of school, 15 Print Kids, hopeful to please their superstar customer, offered desired variety of outfits: from girly dresses, a kimono, coats, knitted à la parisienne costume, a bike jacket to elegant evening frocks, some quite theatrical. The prints varied from architecture, puppies, abstract, skeletons to apocalypse, but mostly featured Alan Measles ‘A♥M’ – Grayson’s teddy-god, in quirky situations: in a womb, crucified and adored by angels, as Marie Antoinette and the A♥M LV-ish monogram – very commercial for CSM indeed!
Everyone did a great job, but there are always winners. Grayson presented the exquisite trophies by saying, “ The ‘Claire’ goes to…”:
GOLD: Stephanie Imma Cristofaro
SILVER: Richard Quinn
We would like to thank Grayson Perry for tirelessly being our muse year by year, for a great interview and, most importantly, for being fabulous! Special thanks to our tutors: Natalie Gibson, Lindsay Taylor, Judith Strong, Patrick Lee Yow and Esme Young, who guide students through the creative chaos towards the light and meeting of deadlines! And we wish awesome summer holidays to 2nd year Print students, well done to all!
All photography: Kirill Kuletski
Grayson Perry’s Interview:
Who art you?
I am Grayson Perry the artist.
Please tell us about the “Grayson Perry Project”. How did it all began and what has it become over the years?
It started in 2004 when I bumped into Natalie Gibson, who ran fashion print at Saint Martins, on the bus when I was going for a shopping trip in the West End dressed up. She thought it would be great if the students designed and made me a dress. So the next year the project was born and it has been running now for eight years as the final project of the second year students. We have refined it each year to get the best out of the students and so they have a good time too hopefully. This year featured the usual ups and downs. The ups are enthusiasm and amazing designs beautifully made, the downs are laziness and lame ideas that go badly wrong! Every year I make trophies called ‘Claires’ like the Oscars only for second year print students. The three prize-winners this year were Stephanie, Richard and Darren who all made fab outfits.
Would Claire want to study design at CSM?
Claire would definitely do Fashion Print because she loves drawing stories and designing dresses. In another life maybe.
In your opinion, do all CSM kids have the same style/are alike?
CSM kids look like art students because that is what they are. The fashion ones are the best dressed naturally. I like to see young people making an effort to stand out, not enough people do that in the age of brands.
Is Central Saint Martins a special place?
CSM is one of the most famous art schools in the world and has a host of talented and famous alumni. It attracts great students from all over the world. The staff I work with are brilliantly experienced and sometimes, I don’t think the students really appreciate what an opportunity it is too work here.
What do you think about the Central Saint Martins’ new 1Granary building?
The new building is very impressive. It has had some teething problems. I think it will get better and better to work in as everyone gets used to it and more relaxed, an art school needs to feel lived in, a bit grubbier. I do miss Soho for the lunchtime restaurants, though the canteen is pretty good.
Recently, you have done wonderful series with Channel 4 on British taste and, as a result, have designed six beautiful tapestries. Would you do anything about your experiences at CSM?
I would like to make a TV program about the course at Central Saint Martins. The students definitely have a huge effect on how I dress up and design for myself. They have freed me completely from typical tranny habits. Each year the outfits become more diverse.
We read that you once squatted with Stephen Jones and used to compete with each other by wearing outrageous outfits to The Blitz?
There was a whole group squatting in Fitzrovia including Stephen Jones, also the Body Map people, the film maker John Maybury and the artist Cerith Wyn Evans, all scarily stylish to a yokel from Essex. People had no money, so wore things like outfits made of corrugated cardboard found in a skip or just bodypaint in the nude. Boy George had a phase dressing as a sort of Brittania figure.
What music do you listen to?
All sorts, country, classical, pop. My 20 year old daughter has downloaded a lot through my laptop, so I get to like her taste. She introduced me to Frank Turner, who I like a lot. I’m doing an hour on BBC radio 6 music soon as a DJ!!
What is the world without art to you?
It would not be human, we are meaning makers and art is a search for meaning.
Special thanks to i-D online
Art direction and text: Altynai Osmoeva