The story behind Grayson Perry's 'Walthamstow Tapestry', 2009
In the Walthamstow Tapestry Perry explores a very different subject: the emotional role and meaning of brand names in our lives, and by extension our quasi-religious relationship with consumerism.
The tapestry depicts a human life, punctuated with an endless series of commercial brands that the individual encounters along the way. Stripped of their logos and thus their identity, the brand names walk alongside the subjects of the portraits: ordinary people going about their daily business, caring for their children, walking the dog, skateboarding and – of course – shopping.
Every one of Grayson Perry’s vases or tapestries is a marvel of craftsmanship and devotion. But this also produces a dissonance between these contemporary scenes and his otherwise traditional works. With image and text, Perry tells stories of social injustice, hypocrisy and his alter ego, Claire.
Use the zoom viewer here to explore the tapestry in detail.