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David Shrigley

David Shrigley was born in Macclesfield in Cheshire and studied at
the Glasgow School of Art. The creator of an endless stream of witty
line drawings and text that have taken up a significant place in the
contemporary art world and popular culture, Shrigley’s work, at the
moment, is ubiquitous. His productivity is matched only by his
sense of humour, with the content of his child-like, black marker pen
illustrations ranging from the absurdly perverse to the poignantly
banal. Whilst he is best known for his hilarious output of drawings
commenting on humanity’s painful struggle with existence, he has
also worked in painting, sculpture and animation. Shrigley is also the
author of over 20 books of drawings and his animations have been
featured in music videos and films including Who I Am And What
I Want, which he co-directed with the award-winning director
Chris Shepherd.

What have you done since you woke up this morning?
I did 30 drawings. I did a phone interview with a person
from Australia. I answered my e-mails. I ate some food.
I took a shower

What is your earliest memory?
Three years old. Looking out of the window at the
garbage collectors

Do you believe in life after death?
Not as such

Which historical figure would you like to take out,
and what would you like to show them
Tony Blair and George W. Bush. I’d take them to a
really rough pub I know in the East End of Glasgow
and I’d leave them there.

What came first,the chicken or the egg?
The chicken, no, the egg, no, the chicken, no, the egg,
no, I don’t know.

Were you a popular child?
I wasn’t unpopular

What is the meaning of life?
There are lots of meanings. Choose the one that suits
how you are feeling on any given day.

Do you scare easy?

If you could make any one thing free for all
what would it be?
First-class healthcare

If you could have put a stop to any one thing in
the last 50 years what would it have been?

The privatisation of public utilities

Do you subscribe to a particular belief?
I subscribe to The New Statesman

What do you like most about fame and success?
That I don’t have to worry about money

What do you do for fun?
Play football. Go to gigs

What one thing would improve the quality
of your existence?

A good night’s sleep

Who was the first cultural figure to influence you?
Adam Ant

What is your number one priority?
The thing at the top of the list

Why do you do what you do?
To avoid being idle

If a tree falls down in a wood but no one is there
to hear it, does it make a noise?

Of course it does, well actually maybe it doesn’t,
but no, it must do mustn’t it?

Who do you most like to talk shop with?
People who can tell me things I don’t already know

What is your most marked characteristic?
My height

What would you like to be better at?
Speaking French

What quality do you most like in man?

What is the quality you most like in woman?

What is sexy?
Dresses are sexy (on women)

Do you have a short, short story to tell?
Graduation ceremony of the Rotten Fruit High School
for Ants (RFHA) is terminated by stamping child.
87% of graduating class are killed

What is your favourite sound?
The kettle boiling

In a parallel universe what are you doing right now?
The same thing back to front

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Losing at home to Scunthorpe United

Do you collect anything? If so what?
I’ve never really collected anything except records,
and I only really have them to listen to rather than
to have. I’ve started to collect art in the last few
years, but I only have a handful of pieces

Which work of art do you most covet for your home?
Any figurative painting by Philip Guston

Which book do you keep returning too?
The dictionary

What was the last film you watched,
and was it any good?

The Assassination of Richard Nixon. Crap

What is humanity’s biggest failing?

Please describe the space you are in?
I am in my studio which is a large room in my flat.
It is painted white and needs tidying

What piece of music would you like played
at your funeral?

The Final Countdown

Is life serious?
Serious enough

Tell us a joke?
Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning.
He told Bush that three Brazilian soldiers were killed in
Iraq. To everyone’s amazement, all of the colour ran
from Bush’s face, then he collapsed onto his desk,
head in hands, visibly shaken, almost whimpering.
Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld,
‘Just exactly how many is a brazillion?’

Q&A index