Funny Bone — Four&Sons

Funny Bone

David Shrigley’s drawings are at once disturbing and uproarious. Ironically, he has come out with an illustrated self-help book. The irreverent artist talks to us about his psyche and his puppy.


Funny Bone

David Shrigley is a funny guy. But there’s a mastery to his scrawled drawings; they are at once disturbing and uproarious. The absurdist artist has stalwart fans (some go as far as to turn his doodles into tattoos) and even the art world takes him seriously (a recent Hayward Gallery retrospective and Turner Prize nomination will attest). This month, Shrigley publishes HOW ARE YOU FEELING? At the Centre of the Inside of the Human Brain’s Mind—an irreverent, if ironic, self-help book of such cerebral musings as: “Your brain is extraordinary. But it is not like a hair dryer: When it goes wrong you cannot just throw it in the river.” Here, he keeps the jokes coming…

You went to art school but your style of drawing is anything but formulaic. When did you start drawing in that distinct David Shrigley way?
To be honest, I’m not really aware of having a style. I have an attitude to drawing, I guess, but I think it’s the same attitude as I had when I was a young child: I just want to amuse myself.

A lot of elements in your work are crossed out and covered up. Are they honest mistakes?
They are real mistakes. I never draw things twice. It would be bad luck to do that.

Humour obviously plays a big part in your work. Are all of your works tongue-in-cheek or do they ever have a deeper message? Do you use humor to express your thoughts on societal/political subjects?
Humour is something that I seem to be unable to avoid. I never intended to be a humorous artist; that’s just the way I turned out. It has taken a long time for me to embrace the comedy of what I do. I used to think it was just a facet of a bigger entity, but I’ve realised it’s very much at the centre of what I do.

When you do a funny drawing, do you laugh to yourself?
Of course!

You certainly don’t censor your work, but do you edit?
I throw away 75% of all my drawings.

You address a number of afflictions in the book. Do you suffer from any, and if so, do you take your own advice?
At the moment I’m suffering from a prolapsed disc in my lower back. I don’t think I’ve ever given out any advice about that.

What inspired the “I’m Dead” dog sculpture?
I guess it’s a piece about how weird taxidermy is. Amongst other things.

Please tell us about your new puppy!
My wife and I have a black miniature Schnauzer called Inka. She is about 14 months at the time of writing. We don’t have kids so I guess she fills a gap for us, and of course is somewhat spoiled. I never liked or wanted a dog, but as soon as Inka arrived I did a total 180. Now I love all dogs. Inka is a pretty amiable dog, all things considered. She has a few bad habits, but then so do I… Happiness for me is walking on the beach with my wife and Inka.
All artwork courtesy of David Shrigley
For more information and to purchase the book, click here

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