The most optimistic pessimist

Una Meistere

An interview with British artist David Shrigley


In the middle of July, British artist David Shrigley posted a drawing on Instagram of a green skeleton with slightly drooping shoulders and three words, “Wait in line”, scribbled in the left corner. One of his followers added the comment “Is it you?”

Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013, Shrigley is known for his comics-like drawings with clever, ironic texts about everyday situations, simple human passions and weaknesses, life and death, good and evil, neuroses of our times and political farce. His style balances between a seemingly childlike naiveté and the nihilism of an adult coated with the detritus of experience. It contains pure laughter as well as sniggering sarcasm and black humour – all at the same time. Shrigley is the most optimistic of pessimists on today’s art scene, which also explains his immense popularity. “I’ve thought this all through life: there’s only a cigarette paper between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and it’s easy just to cross over and tumble down that hill the other side,” he stated in an interview published in The Guardian by British author Will Selfs.

Shrigley simply crosses out any grammatical mistakes in his text. He never redoes his drawings. He’s extremely prolific as an artist, but, unlike his peers who have turned the creation of art into an industry employing a bunch of assistants, for him the process is still physical. Each work of his art bears the imprint of his own hand – he draws his own lines and writes his own letters and words. He counts everyone from children to senior citizens among his fans. Although he says, with some irony, that the former perhaps understand him better than the latter.

Shrigley was born in Macclesfield on September 17, 1968 (one wonders what will he post on Instagram on his 50th birthday?!). He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art and currently lives in Brighton. His work has been exhibited at Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York City, in Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, Munich and many other places around the world. His most recent solo exhibitions include Lose Your Mind at Art Tower Mito in Japan (2017) and Problem Guitars at the Anton Kern Gallery during Independent New York. In addition to drawing, Shrigley also works in the media of photography, painting, animation, music and sculpture. He has published more than 20 books, with the newest, Fully Coherent Plan: For a New and Better Society, having been released this past May. It includes 254 illustrations, all made with Shrigley’s characteristic thick, black pen on almost starched-white paper. One page of the book has a short summary dedicated to “Things that prevent us being our true selves. Almost everything, but especially: masks, cloaks, hats.”

Shrigley has also made music videos for the British rock band Blur as well as Bonnie “Prince” Billy. He was also the guest director for this year’s Brighton Festival. He has always stressed that everything he makes is “a work in progress”. And, as he says in our conversation, “What I mean by that is that you’re never really in control of the context of the work, because the context changes depending on who’s looking at it at what time and at what place.” A vivid testimony to this is his sculpture titled Really Good, which stood on the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2016. 

Shrigley is the eighth artist (after Marc Quinn, Antony Gormley and others) to have been honoured in this public contemporary art project. Trafalgar Square was named to commemorate the largest British naval victory over Napoleon Bonaparte, and a statute of King William IV was planned for the fourth plinth, located right at the centre of the square. However, the plan was never realised due to insufficient funds, and thus the fourth plinth stood empty for more than 150 years. Until, following much debate, the so-called Fourth Plinth Commission was set up in 2005 with the support of the Mayor of London and the Arts Council England. The project envisions a rolling programme of contemporary art to be displayed on the plinth.

Shrigley’s seven-metre-tall sculpture depicted a big “thumb’s up”, its humorously lengthened thumb perfectly reflecting its title, Really Good. Of course, it also managed to whip up a storm of controversy, considering the sensitive climate of post-Brexit Great Britain. Shrigley himself was an active proponent of his country remaining in the European Union, and therefore the gesture expressed in his sculpture took on quite an ambiguous meaning. However, because the concept for the project was created long before its exhibition, Shrigley operated according to the long-held truth that good attracts good. So, the more we say that things are going really well, the greater the possibility that it will actually be so. As he said in an interview on, “As an artist, you have to believe that your work makes the world a better place on some level – even if the content matter is quite dark or very critical of society. I feel that way about my work. So in that sense the work is both ironic and sincere at the same time.”

David Shrigley: Laughterhouse. DESTE Foundation Project Space Slaughterhouse in Hydra island, Greece. Photo: Maria Markezi

One of Shrigley’s newest projects is the Laughterhouse installation, on show until September 30 at the DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse on the Greek island of Hydra. It is also his debut in the field of documentary cinema. Laughterhouse is a film about goats, whose cries sound like those of human beings. In his typical surreally paradoxical manner, Shrigley addresses the contradiction between the film’s humorous mood and the dark history the venue holds for the film’s main heroes. The opening event for the installation was accompanied by music played on electric guitars designed by Shrigley himself.

DESTE (Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art) was established and initiated by Greek art collector, industrialist and philanthropist Dakis Joannou. One of the brightest visionaries on the current art scene, he also serves on the boards of a number of the world’s most prestigious museums. Shrigley’s installation continues a tradition begun in 2009 by DESTE, namely, that each year the former slaughterhouse on Hydra is devoted to a single artist or artists’ group as the home of a project created especially for the space.

My conversation with Shrigley took place over the telephone and lasted for 50 minutes. It was 11 o’clock in the morning in Brighton and 1 o’clock in the afternoon in Riga.

Installation view, David Shrigley: Laughterhouse. DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra (June 19–Sept. 30, 2018). Photo: Fanis Vlastaras & Rebecca Constantopoulou. ©David Shrigley

I would like to start with your current project on Hydra. I just Googled this morning, and YouTube is full of goats making sounds like human beings and humans laughing about it. Your installation is also named Laughterhouse. Why do you think human beings behave like that? Why do they laugh at others?

I guess Hydra is a quite difficult space to make an artwork. It’s an old slaughterhouse, as you know. So it seemed like it’s really difficult to avoid dealing with the use of the place as a slaughterhouse, which is kind of dark and sinister. In the meantime, we’re invited to not really think about the process of slaughter when we think about meat production.

Anyway, my work generally has a quite comic element to it, and most of what I do has some comedy. Because these were principally goats that were slaughtered there, I guess I was looking at these things on YouTube and thinking about how funny goats really are. And I wondered what it would be like to make a film kind of based on that idea, where it would still be funny even if it’s put in a slaughterhouse. So that was the starting point for the film, but in a way I didn’t really know what would happen. It’s sort of like a proposition, or a question really – I wasn’t confident that people would see it in one particular way, so I was not sure what the response to the film would be. In a way, that’s a part of the privilege of making a work of art, considering that all works of art are works in progress when you make them. The film itself is quite funny, and what I was interested in is when do things stop being funny and when do things start being funny, and whether things can be funny and horrific at the same time.

Irony and death are always present in your artwork. In a way, it reminds me of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which says that regular contemplation of death can lead to a deep experience of joy. One should therefore think about death multiple times a day. Do you do so?

I don’t know. I guess when you get older you think more about death, and most people seem to have a certain disposition in how they consider death, whether they deal with it in a comic way or in a philosophical way or any other. This is a piece about death to some extent, but it’s not necessarily about our death; it’s more about the death we inflict on other creatures in order to have our food. So there’s an ethical question as well, I suppose.

The thing I realised about the film, having spent a lot of time with goats and even more time looking at goats while we were editing the film, is that you do become very fond of them. I did start to feel very close to the goats and started to really like them. Also, I began to feel like I have an understanding of them as creatures. I’m an animal lover, and I have a dog whom I’m really fond of. So thinking about death, when you watch the film you’re really aware that the animals are so full of life. The British philosophy or Tibetan philosophy are not things that I’m particularly familiar with, but I guess it does touch on those themes. These animals are so full of life, personality, strangeness and joy, I suppose, that the paradox between the film and the place where it’s shown is very clear.

David Shrigley: Laughterhouse. DESTE Foundation Project Space Slaughterhouse in Hydra island, Greece. Photo: Maria Markezi

What did you discover about goats that you did not know before, that you noticed only during the process of making this work?

I think our team and I learned a lot about goats over the course of making the film: that they’re quite strange creatures and that they’re quite varied. There are a lot of different types of goats, and they’re used for a lot of different things and kept for a lot of different reasons.

We didn’t really film them on Hydra because there aren’t enough goats there, but we filmed in Malta, which has quite a similar landscape to the Greek islands. And we found that goats in Malta were actually quite miserable and unhappy. Another part of the film was made in Scotland, on different goat farms. I don’t really know why that is, but it might be possible that we were projecting our own feelings onto the goats or onto the film, but they are used for meat production to some extent in the Mediterranean, and not at all in the UK, where they are either used for milk or just kept as pets, as livestock really.

But yes, I learned a lot about them. They are quite difficult creatures to keep, because they eat everything. When we were at the farm, the farmer was saying that you have to keep them enclosed all the time; they can’t just wander around like sheep do, otherwise they would eat everything. They even eat the tires on cars and cause a lot of other damage. Really interesting creatures, and quite strange, as well, which is kind of highlighted a little bit in the film. I don’t feel like I’m an expert on goats, but I do know a lot more about them than I did before.

Returning to your drawings. Why is it so important for you to use text in your work, what do words mean to you?

I guess drawings with text are the centre of what I do, and it’s something I’ve done throughout my life really. It’s kind of a way of expressing myself, and it’s very easy as a medium and something that I’ve always felt very comfortable with. Unlike filmmaking. I guess this is probably the first documentary that I’ve ever made, so this project is quite a departure in terms of media for me. I’m always making drawings. I think that for me, everything always comes back to making black-and-white drawings, even the poster for the Laughterhouse show on Hydra is a black-and-white drawing of a goat. And the catalogue will end up being drawings rather than film stills. I’ve been doing it for so long that I have ceased to have an objective sense of what it is that I’m doing, other than that it’s something that I like doing.

© David Shrigley

When looking at your artwork, especially at the texts, I have a feeling that you minimise words, like trying to avoid verbiage as much as possible. Why do you do so?

It’s a process of reduction. I always try to say whatever it is that I have to say as economically as possible, and I’m interested in the slippage between words and pictures, illustrations and descriptions. I’m interested in language itself, I suppose. With a lot of what I do, which is the statements that I make within the drawings, it’s often unclear whether I’m speaking metaphorically or literally. So that’s the kind of territory that I’m constantly interested in. I think the pictures that I make are somewhere in between a piece of writing and a drawing. So there’s a sort of literary element as well; it’s a bit like concrete poetry to some extent. The words act as pictures, and sometimes the pictures act in the same way as words. I think that there are now maybe fewer words in my drawings than there used to be, which is something that I’ve noticed but I don’t really know why that is. It’s just the development of the work. I’ve been making this work professionally, as a professional artist, for more than 20 years, so I haven’t done anything else in more than two decades. So I think it’s safe to say that it has developed quite a lot in that time.

But if we look at the huge museum shows, biennials, etc., drawing is not so often represented anymore. Is it a disappearing medium? Maybe the digital age and the upcoming cyborg generation will put an end to drawing, as could be the case with handwriting. What are your thoughts on these issues?

I think drawing and painting – physical ways of making pictures – are always going to be present within the world of fine art, even if they are starting to disappear in popular culture. I make exhibitions in big museums, and I guess the work that I make for museums is different from the work that I make in a small space or what I make for a book. I just try to fill the space. I make objects, I make films, I make different installations of drawings. I think that the digital age is just another means of making artwork, really. When I think about my own work and the changes that I’ve made because of the internet and digital media, I think it’s just the media that has changed and the way that it’s disseminated has changed. And you have to embrace it.

For example, I stopped making photographs of things. I used to make kind of transient works of public art, or graffiti and stuff, and I would take photographs of it and then those photographs would be exhibited in galleries. I don’t do that anymore. Since film-based photography kind of died out, or at least diminished in favour of digital photography, I stopped making photographs as art. But then again, I still take lots of pictures of things on my phone, but those you just post on social media maybe. It’s a fun way to make pictures, I suppose.

And likewise, when I stopped doing photography, I started making animation as art, so kind of around the beginning of the 2000s I started making animated films. And that really was because you could make them digitally, because you can make them as vector animations, which are really easy to make in a way that it wasn’t perhaps in the 1990s prior to when I started being a professional artist. Digital animation didn’t really exist in any usable form at that time. So, yes, the digital age allowed me to make digital films, so that’s really interesting.

Filmmaking is just really ubiquitous and easy to do right now, relatively speaking. So I think that it’s just an opportunity, these changes in media. The way people work and the way that information is disseminated changes. I don’t really think that it has had such a high impact on the world of fine art, but I think it’s very different if you’re an illustrator, for example, or a musician or a writer. Because as a journalist you got paid a lot more 20 years ago for writing stuff, and you got paid a lot more for being an illustrator 20 years ago. I can remember those days. And also when you’re making music, because suddenly people want all that content for free. Fortunately for me, the world of fine art doesn’t really exist in the same way; it’s all about the object and an object that can be for sale, rather than writing a book and it’s available in digital format. Or when you take a photograph, everybody wants it for free and nobody wants to pay for it. The same with music. So, generally speaking, I think the digital age has been pretty kind to the world of fine art, but kind of unkind to everybody else.

David Shrigley: Fully Coherent Plan. © David Shrigley

In your interviews it is often mentioned that art exists as a proposition. What is the role of art from your point of view, especially in the world we are living in right now?

I’m not really the kind of artist who has a proposition or has an idea and then makes an artwork to demonstrate or to test that idea per se. What I often do is I have an idea or I have an area of interest, but I don’t really know what I’m doing when I make an artwork. I’m doing it because I think it’s interesting, and sometimes it turns out to be something very different in the end. You make an artwork and you’re not really sure what the work is about; you maybe have a space to fill, or somebody has given you an opportunity to make an artwork in a particular place and time, and you do that. I kind of have a feeling that something is interesting, but I don’t really know what the work is about until much later, and then sometimes years later you look back at the work and you see it in a different light, you kind of understand it differently. So I like the idea that an artwork is a proposition, but I think it’s also something that I’ve said in the past, that all my works are works in progress. And what I mean by that is that you’re never really in control of the context of the work, because the context changes depending on who’s looking at it at what time and at what place.

I never really want to be in control of what the work is, because the work is a journey. I mean, the process is the journey, and the work is just something that happens as a residue of the process, something that happens on the journey that you’re on as an artist. And I like that, I like the fact that the work could end up being anything. It could end up being good, it could end up being bad, and that’s the way I like to work. I like to see every day as if it were my first rather than my last (laughs). So I like to see my every project like it’s my first day of art school and to see everything new every time. I suppose that it’s not necessarily that helpful in terms of being strategic about your career, because you probably end up making a lot of strange artwork and a lot of mistakes. But I think that is the privilege of being an artist. I don’t really want to think of myself as some artisan who makes a product that then gets sold and I have a brand that I try to look after or whatever. I think that’s really a depressing way of thinking of the privilege of being an artist. So what’s exciting is to make something new every time.

But making art, is it a conscious process? Or is it a special zone, not the real world we live in, but something that comes out, because there is some mystery about it as well?

I don’t know. I sometimes think that the work happens as a result of making the work, as a result of the process, as I said. Something has to happen in the process, something interesting, so I just try to focus on the process. Maybe if you’re just making some drawings, you just have a number of sheets of paper and a number of things to draw, and you just write a list or something like that. And I just keep working and think that my only task is to fill the page, to fill a number of sheets of paper and to make a number of drawings that are finished. Or when I’m making an exhibition, it’s just to fill a space with stuff, whatever that is. And the work somehow happens, something happens when you’re working.

Where does that come from, I don’t know. Maybe the role of the artist, the skill of an artist is just making connections between things that already exist. So the ideas are really just about connections between existing things; it’s not necessarily a new knowledge, it’s a different contextualisation of an existing knowledge. It’s like you find things – you don’t invent them. I think that ideas are kind of free, they are all just existing somewhere, and the job of the artist, or any creative person, is to find them and to put them in a different context.

I remember that one day you posted on Instagram something like a “today’s list” of words, and some of them were just crossed out. It seems that that’s also a part of the process of how you work.

Yes, lists are very important to me (laughs). They stop me from being stressed out. I think if you have a lot to do, then you understand this, too. There’s something about writing a list that is healthy. You understand that you have all these things to do and you get a bit worried about it, and then if you write a list, you feel less stressed, you know what you have to do and you can make a time table or whatever. I also make lists of things I’ve already done, that’s helpful (laughs).

David Shrigley: Fully Coherent Plan. © David Shrigley

And I also read that you don’t allow yourself to have creative blocks. Why is it so important for you to not stop creating? Is it something similar like with writing – when you stop, it’s difficult to start again? Because it’s a kind of self-discipline?

The thing is, you only have so much time as it is, so you have to use that time. It’s very easy to do nothing, and it’s very easy to make excuses for doing nothing, but I think that there is just time to work. I always tell myself that it doesn’t matter if what you’ve done is bad, as long as you’ve done it. Obviously, you have a responsibility to definitely edit what you do before you show it to anybody, but there’s no excuse for not making it.

I don’t believe in creative blocks. But I think perhaps I’ve learned this. I’ve taught at art school in the past, although I don’t do it so often these days – I don’t have time. But it’s really useful to talk to other artists and to talk to people who are in a different stage in their career and to give them advice. It seems very easy to look at other people’s work and see what they’re doing wrong, but it’s very difficult to look at your own practice and see what you are doing wrong. So I try to imagine myself being an art student and giving myself advice, and part of that advice is to not just look out the window but to keep working, and eventually something will happen.

But how do you know that a work of art is finished?

That’s a good question. I think that if you’re not sure that it’s finished, just decide that it is finished (laughs), and then it will be finished. It’s a very intuitive thing, and you can easily make mistakes, but if you have a notion that it might be finished, or you suspect that it is, then it is finished. I think less is more. My whole thing is to not give people too much information. Sometimes I try and give them even less information than they actually need to understand the artwork. For me, it’s an experiment to see how little you can say and still have people try to understand it on some level. I think I probably do it too much; far too often I probably make things that are far too oblique and difficult to understand, but that’s a part that I enjoy doing.

I’ve also heard that you set rules for yourself, for example, not to redraw anything. Why is it so important for you to set these rules?

I generally do find it difficult to redraw things. Occasionally something has to be redrawn because you make it for a certain purpose and it needs to be different somehow, and so you have to redraw it. I find that really difficult, because I generally only do things once, and I’m really used to that. I’m used to that truth of the line, that confidence in the line and the mark that you make. To make it again is really difficult, it feels like it’s a job that should be done by a machine, or by somebody else. And I think it’s partially just because of the way that I’ve always worked – I don’t redraw anything, and I don’t want to. I’m not an illustrator. It’s just one thing that I draw, and I do it once, and if I make a spelling mistake or something, then I just cross it out. It supposedly becomes a stylised thing that people recognise me for, but part of it is just really practical as well, since I don’t want to do it.

And it doesn’t really get better, either. It’s not like my work is really objectively correct in terms of graphics, in terms of objectively rendering a three-dimensional space on a page – I don’t really do that too much. They’re just representations of things, and it’s difficult to understand what I’m actually doing. One of the reasons why I write text beneath things is that the drawings are so bad that you don’t actually know what the drawing is of until I describe it for you (laughs). But yes, I do things once, and that’s just the way it is. There are a number of reasons for doing it, but part of it is that it doesn’t get any better to do it twice.

David Shrigley: Fully Coherent Plan. © David Shrigley

I know that you’re involved in art therapy for children in support of several mental health issues. Do you think art has a therapeutic value, and can it heal in some way?

Yes, very much so. I’m very lucky to have been invited to help with art therapy initiatives. Last year I was involved in a project in the UK parliament, a policy document that was about health well-being and the arts. About how engagement with the arts is very helpful to people’s general well-being, their physical well-being as well as their mental well-being, and there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that. Participation in the arts negates the need for drugs, for example, and it’s a really fascinating area. Thankfully in the UK we’re becoming a lot more aware of mental health issues and people’s mental health being as important as their physical health.

Engagement with the arts, seeing art and also making art is a really important thing for people who are trying to deal with mental health issues. And obviously, I’m a graphic artist, I’m interested in how the process of making drawings can help people contextualise what’s going on. I guess it’s not an area of expertise, but it’s something that I’ve become a patron of, a patron of charity in Glasgow, which I’ve been for a number of years. One of those projects is a children’s gallery for exhibiting visual art projects made by children whose parents suffer from drug and alcohol issues. The project as a whole has been really successful in changing the outcomes for those children. And more recently, as I said, I’ve been involved in the health well-being and the arts programme within the UK government. It’s something that I’m quite passionate about. I’m not really an expert, but I’ve been given the opportunity to help, and it’s something that I really enjoy.

Also a part of the reason I’m excited about it is because when I first became a professional artist, there was a sneaking suspicion that I always had that you should not really be allowed to do this, because it’s so much fun, and you get to do what you want all day and don’t have to have a job. And then I would think that I must just be really lucky, and maybe this thing I’m making is useless and self-indulgent. But I actually realised that it isn’t, and that people have a positive response to my work, and that a lot of my work deals with mental health issues as well, because it’s quite comic that people have a positive response to it.

But also just the idea that making art yourself or just going to an exhibition is a positive thing for your mental and physical well-being is a revelation. I think it basically means that what you’re doing has value to society, and, as I’ve gone on with my career, I’ve realised that the arts are very important – for everybody. And in these times of recession, when public money is very strained, as we know in the UK and in the rest of Europe, there are a lot of funding cuts and the arts seem to be the first thing that’s cut. But it’s important to value the arts, because they do have value. So, that has been a real revelation to me and something that I’m still quite excited about.

But do you believe that art can make the world a better place? Does it have the power to change anything in this advanced capitalist society that we’re living in now which is balanced around extremes?

Well, I guess we – you and I – are very much politically on the same side. But in times of extremes, whether society lurches to the right or to the left, it seems that the arts and engagement with the arts, public funding of the arts, are the things that get cut. It’s like fascism – there’s no place for the arts in fascism. And there’s a reason for that: because the arts are about people, about people expressing themselves, and about freedom and joy and basically all the things fascism isn’t about. I think the arts are very much about our humanity, about us as human beings, and we have to have the arts regardless of what form they take. It could be visual arts, performance, music, whatever.

We have to have the arts because they’re very important for us as human beings. We’re not animals – animals don’t necessarily need art, but we do. Art is as important as all the other things we need. Obviously, we need health care, a good diet, exercise and economic prosperity, but the arts are vital for us. I think one has to try to make the world a better place, and because I’m an artist, I try to do that by means of art. I think art does make the world a better place. I’m not arrogant to say that my art in particular makes it that way, but art in general does.

How comfortable do you feel as an artist to be living in this bubble we call the art world today? And do you take it very seriously or not? Because in some way you are a part of it.

Yes, definitely. Everybody lives in a bubble these days. But as a successful international fine artist, I’m aware that I live in a bubble. That is, an ideological bubble, but also an economic bubble as well. I think you become really aware that the economic realities for the likes of me are massively different from those of everybody else, and I think that it’s really important to realise that you’re in a bubble (laughs). And to try to think of what responsibility you have towards everybody else, both economically and ideologically.

I don’t know... I think social media, all that stuff and Brexit and whatever, it does make you realise that you, and I, live in a world that’s completely different from most of the rest of the people whom I interact with, who aren’t doing what I do. What can I do about it? I don’t know, I’m still thinking about it.

Do you think future generations will be able to understand how we lived and what we thought by looking at your art and today’s art in general?

Yes, I do. In contemporary art, modernism I suppose is a fairly. There are people alive today still who were born in the time of Dada. That epoch of what we consider to be modern art or modernism is very short, but when we look back at Dada, for example, which came into being at the end of the First World War, it’s a really interesting document of the times. You can really understand so much about the society from looking at contemporary art, because it’s such a direct response to what was happening in those times. Not just through visual art, but, obviously, I’m a visual artist and I’m interested in that, and I think that the work that artists are making now will be equally exciting in 2118. And maybe looking back at it then we’ll see the work that’s being made now as a really interesting historical document.

And a slightly provocative question at the end, I think somebody has already asked you before. But how do you think your work differs from a child’s scribble?

I’m an adult, I suppose (laughs). My work is the work of an adult, but in a way I suppose it’s not so different from the work that I made when I was six. A lot of my biggest fans are children anyway, so if you get a good review from an eight-year-old, it’s the same as getting a good review in Artforum. It’s still one human being’s opinion of it, so I value the ideas of children. I don’t know. If you think that my work is just childish scribble...

No, I don’t think so (laughs).

People probably think that my work is childish scribble, and that’s fine, I don’t mind. You can’t expect everybody to like your work, and I don’t expect everybody to like it. People often say that they’ve been to my exhibition and that their daughter, for example, really loved it. And they don’t say that they loved it, but that their daughter loved it. At least somebody likes it (laughs).

But maybe children are the most reliable audience. I remember once at Edvard Munch’s museum in Oslo I was standing in front of Scream, and there was a group of four- and five-year-old kids, and all of them were standing there like they really felt something. Like the real scream, which adults maybe don’t feel anymore.

Yes, I guess we get blind as we get older. Children see more than we do; they see things very differently anyway. So, yes, I think we can learn from children.

Thank you!

David Shrigley. © David Shrigley

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