I think that I would be both correct and inoffensive to say that David Shrigley has been very lucky. He’s lucky to have been nominated for the Turner prize, and to have been on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. He’s lucky to have found work as an artist, something notoriously difficult to do. The fact that he got a 2.2 for his degree in Environmental Art, which, apparently, you get “just for turning up” makes it all the more impressive. He’s also lucky to live in the UK, the only place, probably, to understand and appreciate his understated, quiet but excellent sense of humour.
At the same time, it doesn’t take much to see that he is, clearly, a brilliant artist. Perhaps not in the traditional sense: he debates the usefulness of being able to draw well, and has a strange, cartoonish, childish style. He seems to dislike people analysing his art- more than once, I am reminded of an interview I saw with Freddie Mercury where he stated he hadn’t a clue what Bohemian Rhapsody was about.
You do truly get a feeling of an artist when Shrigley talks. He seems uncertain in himself, sometimes mentioning his fame, other times painting himself as shy, uncharismatic and awkward. There’s a sense, too, that he must be able to sell his work quite well, both to galleries and to strangers in the pub (he tells us that this is how he started off, with self-published books of cartoons for the price of a couple of beers).