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LITTLE MISS Popular

GRAYSON PERRY is that rare thing; an artist who’s as equally respected by his peers as he is loved by the public. Even his TV series haven’t dented his reputation as a serious artist – on the contrary, they’ve resulted in the creation of some of his best work. But now he’s confronting his popularity head-on with a new exhibition, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever, at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Perry allowed Winq into his studio to discuss his work in progress — and his relationship with the LGBT+ community.

Grayson Perry has never been interviewed by the gay media. You might think that isn’t surprising as he’s made no secret of the fact that he’s a straight man. But he’s also a straight man whose work explores issues of gender and sexuality — and furthermore he’s a man who enjoys dressing up in women’s clothes, often in public.

In this age when so many minority groups are coming together under the LGBT+ umbrella, and more and more young people are choosing to identify as queer, the time is right to ask Perry if he considers himself a member of our community — or just an ally.

As he opens the door to his studio in north London, the Essex-born artist is fresh-faced and smiling. He shows us around a bright, tidy space that used to be a factory and still has the remains of a clocking-on machine on the wall. Lined up on the kitchen counter is a packed lunch, next to empty bottles which he explains are left over from last night, when he entertained patrons of the Royal Academy of Arts, of which he was made a member in 2012.

He makes us a coffee (’It’s only instant I’m afraid!“) and we sit down on a sofa, directly facing kilns that contain two pots that will be the focus of both his new TV show and art exhibition — the Brexit vases. With one representing the Brexiteers and one the Remainers, the imagery, logos and slogans on both were suggested by the public via social media. I begin by asking why he was inspired to make them.

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