An Interview With David Shrigley, About Flying Tiger Copenhagen

30th August 2016

The chain of high street shops known at Tiger, are the purveyors of all things fun, kitsch and affordable – experts at making you buy things you never knew you needed or wanted, but that definitely make you smile. They are going through a rebrand at the moment, soon to be launching as “Flying Tiger Copenhagen”; a suitable more silly moniker.

To help relaunch the show with a bit of tongue in cheek, they have commissioned Turner prize nominated artist David Shrigley to create a set of 20 products in his incredibly dry and witty style. Known for his off the wall child-like drawings that question the cultures of art, love, childhood, work etc., Shrigley has become a firm British favourite for his iconic sense of humour. From having decorated the restaurant Sketch in Mayfair, London, to creating a giant “thumbs up” statue to be placed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, the British artist seems to be able to turn his bizarre and absurd style to anything.

The range, which includes phone cases, colouring pencils, tote bags and notepads, is a riotous synergy between Shrigley’s dark humour and Flying Tiger Copenhagen’s upbeat image –  the two are champions of “humour everywhere” and “art for everyone”, and with prices from £1, it certainly is deomcratic. Flying Tiger Copenhagen now has over 600 stores worldwide, currently expanding at a rate of 2 a week and with over 300 new products added each month – you might have to act fast to get your hands on these piece available from September.

Candid Magazine sat down with Shrigley to ask him about his work and the upcoming collaboration. We expected nothing less from the master of the dry wit and dark humour…

Candid Magazine: When did you first start to draw?

David Shrigley: I have no recollection of a time when I didn't draw. So I'd guess I started soon after birth.

CM: Where did the video Who I Am And What I Want come from?

DS: It came from the delta waves. Google it if you don't know what they are. I tapped into the delta waves and they provided me with all the info I needed to make this film. My pal Chris Shepherd helped make it but it was only me that tuned into the delta waves. Chris smoked weed instead, which was also helpful.

CM: Do you take the anxieties in your work from personal experience? Have you felt ostracised or suffered from mental health problems?

DS: I have never been anything except completely happy and contented in my life. This obviously makes my work difficult because it requires me to imagine what it's like to suffer from mental illness. It's a bit like method acting. They should give me an Oscar or something.

David Shirley for Flying Tiger Copenhagen, 2016

CM: What was your first drawing?

DS: I don't know. But I could tell you what my last drawing was: I drew a vegeburger. Maybe because I am hungry.

David Shirley for Flying Tiger Copenhagen, 2016

CM: Do other artists ever give you a hard time for not being perhaps, a “fine” artist in the sense you could be called an illustrator?

DS: I don't correspond with anyone on social media so I am blissfully unaware of any criticism that might come my way. The only criticism I might get is delivered in person and on those occasions I usually tell the person to fuck off. This is what works for me.

CM: Are you concerned with commercial gallery success?

DS: I try not to think about it too much. It's probably a bad idea to equate what you do in the studio with how much money is in your bank account.

CM: How much do you sell your works for, and how much would you like to sell them for?

DS: The small drawings are a million pounds. The big ones are three million.

CM: How did the collaboration with Tiger come about?

DS: The phone rang and it was Tiger…

CM:What’s the story behind the giant thumb for the fourth plinth, also available to buy from Flying Tiger Copenhagen?

DS: It is an attempt to make the world a better place

CM: What’s your relationship like with Glasgow, and why do you think it’s got such a vibrant art scene?

DS: I now live in Brighton but I still have a studio in Glasgow. This poses a few logistical problems but it's still do-able. I miss Glasgow but I don't miss the weather. Glasgow is a great place. Why it is such a cultural success is a question many ask. Maybe it's like asking why there is life on planet Earth. Maybe asking why is pointless: Just enjoy it.

David Shirley for Flying Tiger Copenhagen, 2016

CM: What would you like people to take away from your work?

DS: Nothing physical. They can take spiritual and emotional stuff away. But I don't want them breaking bits off, etc.

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