David Shrigley, Edinburgh Book Festival, Scottish Power Tent, 17th August
“Fill the page.” Contemporary artist David Shrigley aims to produce thirty drawings a day. The artist’s prolific output is celebrated in a definitive collection of his humorous, thought-provoking and sometimes sinister work, brought together in a new book, entitled “What the Hell Are You Doing?”
Introduced by Katrina Brown, Shrigley opened the door to his world, talking us through a visual presentation of some old and new work, from illustrations to photos to artwork for a CD cover and an animated clip.
Shrigley allowed the enthusiastic audience a brief and fascinating glimpse into the way he works, his ideas, the journey from words to visual ideas, and entertaining stories behind the evolution of a diverse body of work which ranges from art exhibitions and postcards to videos for Blur and Pringle knitwear and illustrations for the Guardian and Independent newspapers.
Anecdotes ranged from his experiences of producing drawings for the New Statesman and ensuing jokes about Blair, Brown and Cameron; a story about a Glasgow teenager with a tattoo based on his artwork; and – for someone whose use of words in his art is so personal – an intriguing tale of staying in a house in France, where the owner had labelled all of the objects in the house, from sponges to step ladders to the number of cups and plates on a shelf.
Shrigley’s work often prompts debate surrounding the definition of what art is, but what is so intriguing about this artist’s work is its diversity and its surreal qualities, which have managed to reach such a wide audience and amuse and disgust at the same time.
Diehard Shrigley fans will clearly be thrilled with this new collection, whilst others will be inspired to discover his work for the first time.