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10 Facts you Didn't Know About David Shrigley

David Shrigley is renowned for his witty text and cartoon-like drawings and prints, but what about the man behind these eccentric artworks? Here are 10 facts you might not know about the intriguing artist…

1. David Shrigley’s affinity for art started at the young age of 11. After being introduced to album covers, Shrigley quickly developed a love of album design, and was determined to create the record covers for Adam and the Ants.

David Shrigley, I'm Special, 2017

2. This childhood obsession grew into a love of art, and Shrigley went on to study Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. His studio at the time was often broken into and his paintings vandalised. This anti-fine art attitude was comedic to Shrigley, and from here he developed his well-known anecdotal style.

3. After graduating from university, the artist was encouraged by his friends to self-publish small books of his drawings, often producing hundreds of copies at a time. Printed on Xerox paper, Shrigley began to sell these books for £3.50, mainly targeting the customers at his local pub.

David Shrigley, Sell Your Soul, 2012

4. By 1995, Shrigley was a cult favourite amongst the YBA crowd. In the same year, the artist landed himself his first Frieze cover. This glowing publicity catapulted him straight into the international art scene, and in 1996 Shrigley’s work was exhibited in Copenhagen, New York and Amsterdam and more.

5. Whilst best known for his humorous and knowing sketches, Shrigley has also directed music videos, co-directed an animated film, and released a spoken word album called Shrigley Forced to Speak With Others.

6. In 2013, Shrigley was nominated for the Turner Prize. His room was an interactive exhibit that encouraged visitors to participate in a life drawing class. The subject was a naked sculpture of a boy urinating into a metal bucket at his feet. The atypical life model was very crudely sculpted, with large ears and nose. The visitor sketches were then pinned to the gallery walls, creating a collaborative project between artist and audience.

David Shrigley, Fucking Ace, 2018

7. David Shrigley debuted 245 new drawings in 2014. These can be found on the wall of the London restaurant Sketch. The artist also designed accompanying tableware and ceramics. For Shrigley, it was important that his work wasn’t purely confined to gallery walls. The artist said of this: “if you don’t [expand outside of the gallery space] you might run out of things to make art about. And it really makes you think about where your art ends and the world begins.”

8. Shrigley’s sculpture Really Good made its debut on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth in September 2016, where it would stay until 2018. The cartoonish thumbs up was Shrigley’s winning commission for the Fourth Plinth Project, a competition that has been in effect since 1999. The 7-metre high thumb sculpture was cast in bronze in an effort to match the other more antiquated statues in the London landmark, and acted as a source of humorous optimism. Shrigley claims this sculpture was “about making the world a better place....which obviously is a ridiculous proposition but I think it’s a good proposition”.

David Shrigley, I Am Currently On Fire, 2018

9. In 2020, Shrigley released a new portfolio of work titled the Lockdown Drawings. These 340 works of art were inspired by the UK’s Spring coronavirus lockdown of the same year.

10. Shrigley has been awarded the position of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, most commonly known as an OBE, for his services to Fine Art.

Want to discover more of David Shrigley's work? Make sure to take a look at our David Shrigley Collection here.

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