David Shrigley

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David Shrigley
David Shrigley.jpg
Shrigley in 2011
Born (1968-09-17) 17 September 1968 (age 51)
EducationLeicester Polytechnic
Glasgow School of Art
Known forDrawing, photography, painting, sculpture, animation, music
AwardsHonorary doctorate, De Montfort University; Turner Prize nominee

David Shrigley (born 17 September 1968) is a British visual artist. He lived and worked in Glasgow, Scotland for 27 years before moving to Brighton, England in 2015.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Shrigley was born 17 September 1968 in Macclesfield, Cheshire.[4][5] He moved with his parents and sister to Oadby, Leicestershire when he was two years old.[6][7] He took the Art and Design Foundation course at Leicester Polytechnic in 1987,[8][9] and then studied environmental art[6] at Glasgow School of Art from 1988 to 1991.[10][11] Talking about his final degree show, Shrigley later told The Guardian's Becky Barnicoat, "I thought my degree show was brilliant, but the people who were marking it didn't. I got a 2:2. They didn't appreciate my genius.[…] I didn't sell anything at the show – it was 1991, before the YBAs. There wasn't a precedent for people selling work that wasn't figurative painting".[12] Before becoming a full-time artist, Shrigley worked as a gallery guide at the CCA in Glasgow.[13]


As well as authoring several books, he directed the video for Blur's "Good Song" and also for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "Agnes, Queen of Sorrow".[14][15] In 2005 he designed a London Underground leaflet cover. Since 2005, he has contributed a cartoon for The Guardian's Weekend magazine every Saturday.[16] Other projects have included the album Worried Noodles (Tom Lab, 2007) where musicians interpret his writings as lyrics, including collaborations by David Byrne, Hot Chip, and Franz Ferdinand.

Shrigley co-directed a short film with director Chris Shepherd called Who I Am And What I Want (2005), based on Shrigley's book of the same title, with Kevin Eldon voicing its main character, Pete.[17] Shrigley also produced a series of drawings and t-shirt designs for the 2006 Triptych festival, a Scottish music festival lasting for three to four days in three cities. He also designed twelve different covers for Deerhoof's 2007 record, Friend Opportunity.[18] In the same year he also designed the title sequence for the film Hallam Foe, as well as the drawings and the writing in Hallam's on-screen diaries.

Shrigley's mascot for Scottish football team Partick Thistle, "Kingsley" in George Square, Glasgow

In 2014, Jonathan Jones reviewed Shrigley's work Brass Tooth, writing, "David Shrigley must have had a big, toothy grin when he created multiple editions of his sculpture Brass Tooth, which goes on sale for £1,200 a pop at the London art fair this week. It is a cast of a single tooth – including the roots – and is typical of Shrigley's sly, subversive, humorous art in how it brings a modern art cliche crashing down to Earth".[19]

In 2015, he designed "Kingsley", a mascot for Scottish football team Partick Thistle as part of a sponsorship deal. The mascot's design was the object of some amusement, with Scottish BuzzFeed reporter Jamie Ross describing it as "based on every nightmare I had as a child."[20][21][22][23]

Really Good on the Fourth plinth of London's Trafalgar Square, October 2016.

Shrigley's sculpture Really Good was installed on Trafalgar Square's Fourth plinth in September 2016[24][25] until March 2018. The bronze cast of a fist with an out-of-proportion thumbs-up was the winning commission for the Fourth Plinth Project, which has been inviting artists since 1999 to make a proposal for the empty plinth, originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV that was never made. “I made a drawing of an elongated thumb that said everything is good and I wrote some text that sounded like some sort of weird political satire: If we make this sculpture, we can make the world a better place through some kind of self–fulfilling prophecy.”[26]


Recent notable solo exhibitions include Animate, Turku Art Museum, Finland (2011); Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, Glasgow, Scotland (2010); New Powers, Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany (2009); David Shrigley, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2008); Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2008); Everything Must Have a Name, Malmö Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden (2007) and David Shrigley, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Scotland (2006).[27]

Jason Mraz took the name of his album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. from a work by Shrigley.[28]

In January 2016, Shrigley's work was part of a British Council-organised touring exhibition.[29] Previewing the touring David Shrigley: Lose Your Mind exhibition before it opened in Guadalajara, Mexico, BBC Arts said: "Best known for his crudely composed and mordantly humorous cartoons, David Shrigley is a highly popular British artist […] Featuring works as diverse as cartoonish ceramic boots, doodle-like drawings and a headless, stuffed ostrich, the exhibition highlights Shrigley's lively, irreverent imagination in full flow".[30] In the same month, he contributed to the Liverpool Provocations event in Liverpool’s city centre.[31]


  • This Is A Paper Trinket For You To Wear
  • How Are You Feeling
  • To Make Meringue You Must
  • Man In A Room
  • Do Not Bend
  • The Book Of Shrigley
  • Ants Have Sex In Your Beer
  • Slug Trails
  • Merry Eczema
  • Blanket Of Filth
  • Enquire Within
  • Let Not These Shadows Fall Upon Thee
  • Err
  • Drawings Done Whilst On The Phone To Idiot
  • Why We Got The Sack From The Museum
  • Centre Parting
  • Order Of Service
  • To Make Meringue You Must Beat The Egg Whites Until They Look Like This
  • Blank Page And Other Pages
  • The Beast Is Near
  • Hard Work
  • Leotard
  • Joy
  • Yellow Bird With Worm
  • Human Achievement
  • Who I Am And What I Want
  • Let's Wrestle
  • Rules
  • Kill Your Pets
  • It Is It
  • Blocked Path
  • Photographs with Text
  • Worried Noodles – The Empty Sleeve
  • Hand
  • Red Book
  • What The Hell Are You Doing? The Essential David Shrigley
  • Fragments Of Torn Up Drawings
  • Weak Messages Create Bad Situations


In 2006, Shrigley's first spoken word album Shrigley Forced to Speak With Others was released by Azuli Records.[32] In October 2007, Tomlab released Worried Noodles, a double CD of artists including David Byrne, Islands, Liars, Grizzly Bear, Mount Eerie, R. Stevie Moore and Final Fantasy putting Shrigley's 2005 book of the same name to music.[33] Moore went on to record an entire album of new songs set to Shrigley's Worried Noodles lyrics called Shrigley Field.[34]

His spoken word readings are used on the Late Night Tales: David Shrigley series of recordings, with a track from Shrigley closing each album.[35]


Shrigley was nominated for the 2013 Turner Prize.[36] He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Leicester's De Montfort University at a ceremony on 17 July 2014.[37]


  1. ^ Edwin Gilson, "Five minutes with... David Shrigley, Brighton Festival 2018 guest director". The Argus (Brighton), 16 February 2018. Accessed 28 February 2018.
  2. ^ "About the artist". British Council. Accessed 28 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Introducing… David Shrigley". Brighton Dome. Accessed 28 February 2018.
  4. ^ "David Shrigley".
  5. ^ Greer, Stuart (7 February 2014). "Thumbs up for Macclesfield artist".
  6. ^ a b Gatti, Tom (4 March 2009). "David Shrigley: the joker with a deadly punchline" (PDF). The Times. Archived from the original on 2009.
  7. ^ Ramaswamy, Chitra (12 April 2010). "Interview: David Shrigley, artist" (PDF). The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 2010.
  8. ^ Fisher, Glenn (2005). "What's with all the Funny Stuff?". David Shrigley. Archived from the original on 26 April 2006.
  9. ^ "Interview with Bill Kenny, 2003". David Shrigley. 2003. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011.
  10. ^ "David Shrigley on his childhood, Adam and the Ants and Glasgow School of Art".
  11. ^ "Not Deadly Serious: Glasgow School of Art graduate David Shrigley's macabre humour has seen his show at London's Hayward Gallery shortlisted for the Turner Prize".
  12. ^ Barnicoat, Becky (23 June 2015). "Before they were famous: art stars on their final degree shows". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  13. ^ Miller, Phil (27 January 2012). "A man of the people" (PDF). Herland Scotland. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Agnes, Queen of Sorrow, Drag City". www.dragcity.com. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  15. ^ "David Shrigley Animations". www.davidshrigley.com. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  16. ^ "David Shrigley | Paddle8". Paddle8. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Films : Who I Am and What I Want". animate!. 2005.
  18. ^ [1] Archived 24 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Jones, Jonathan (15 January 2014). "Would you pay £1,200 for one of David Shrigley's teeth?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  20. ^ Ross, Jamie. "Twitter post". Twitter. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Partick Thistle unveil 'terrifying' new mascot Kingsley". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  22. ^ Grez, Matias. "Partick Thistle's new mascot Kingsley: Scary or sun-like?". www.cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  23. ^ Bull, JJ. "Partick Thistle unveil utterly terrifying new mascot". www.telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  24. ^ Jones, Jonathan (29 September 2016). "Thumbs up to David Shrigley's fabulously feel-bad fourth plinth". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  25. ^ Pickford, James (15 January 2014). "Thumbs up for David Shrigley and Hans Haacke sculptures in London". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  26. ^ Alexia Antsakli Vardinoyanni. David Shrigley Interview: Thumbs up. artflyernet. Accessed 29 January 2018.
  27. ^ David Shrigley - Arms Fayre, 8 February 2012 - 10 March 2012. Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
  28. ^ Blair, Tom (November 2008). San Diego Magazine. CurtCo/SDM LLC. p. 46.
  29. ^ Shea, Christopher D. (15 January 2016). "What's on This Week Around the World". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  30. ^ "David Shrigley's invitation to Lose Your Mind in Mexico". BBC Online. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  31. ^ Jones, Catherine (20 January 2016). "Liverpool 'Big Mouth' is reading city shoppers' thoughts". Liverpool Echo. Liverpool. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  32. ^ "Shrigley Forced To Speak With Others - Shrigley Forced To Speak With Others". Discogs. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  33. ^ "New Cd From David Shrigley, Worried Noodles, 2007". www.davidshrigley.com. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  34. ^ "Shrigley Field". www.rsteviemoore.com. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  35. ^ "LateNightTales: David Shrigely". latenighttales.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  36. ^ "Turner prize 2013: who gets your vote? | Art and design | theguardian.com". theguardian.com. 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  37. ^ "Artist David Shrigley Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from De Montfort University". 22 July 2014.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]