David Shrigley book

David Shrigley on art, laughter and politics

David Shrigley has a new book out, and is the guest director of this year’s Brighton Festival. We talk to him about humour in art, being a “lefty liberal”, and the importance of taking on new challenges.

David Shrigley has been busy. If you’re a fan of his work, this won’t come as a huge surprise, for he has long been known for his prolific output. Shrigley’s simplistic, comic style of drawing pops up everywhere: on mugs and pin badges, in books and on tote bags, and in more ‘serious’ art spaces, such as the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, where in 2016 he displayed a hilarious, over-sized sculptural thumbs-up.

Despite his ubiquity, Shrigley’s art manages to stay fresh in every setting. He introduces a healthy dose of weirdness into arty gift shops (I enjoyed spotting a badge in his distinctive handwriting the other day which simply said ‘Noodles’) and his humorous, naïve style of drawing still feels mildly controversial when it appears in a white cube setting.

“Some people don’t really see it as fine art and don’t really make that reference,” he says on the phone from his home in Brighton. “They see me as a person who does funny drawings of things. They don’t see me as the kind of fine artist who has work in public collections or whatever. That’s sort of fine.”