Portrait of the artist as a man: Grayson Perry

Faster Thinking

A word with... Grayson Perry

Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry is famous for his ceramic vases, dramatic tapestries and, more recently, A House for Essex, a whimsical two-bedroom property the artist built in the Essex countryside

What’s your earliest holiday memory?

Although I didn’t have many holidays as a child, I do remember being at a holiday camp on the Kent coast when I was little. I was riding on the back of a bike that you could fit a whole family on. I can’t remember if it was fun, but I’m sure I enjoyed it at the time: I was so innocent then.

Where was your last big trip?

I recntly had a big show on in Sydney, so I was in Australia for three or four weeks. I did some travelling while there. My brother lives on the Sunshine Coast, which is a part of Australia you might not see as a tourist. Some people in Sydney turn their noses up at it, but I liked it – it has lovely beaches.


Painted desert: the Valley of Fire state park in Nevada

What destination has blown you away?

I love the canyons, forests and mountains in the western half of the US. That part of the world is so incredibly dramatic.

What kind of traveller are you?

I always go five star and First class if I can, especially on long haul, to minimise the fuss. I get travel panic. I don’t like the preparation at all – the packing and getting to the airport. And as a transvestite I never travel light. It’s only when I get through security that I relax and give myself up to the process.

What’s your ideal holiday read?

I like detective novels, especially anything by John le Carré. On my last holiday I got through three of his books.

Favourite hotel?

When I travel around Britain making documentaries I love staying at Travelodge and Premier Inn hotels. They’re always the same. You can find the loo in the dark because the layout never changes. I enjoy travelling for work because you end up visiting places you’d never go to as a tourist. It’s interesting to go somewhere I’ve never even heard of before.

What’s your favourite thing about British Airways?

I love the fact that BA shows all my documentaries on board! I always get great feedback from people who’ve seen them.