How’s my Donald Trump portrait? I’ve been learning to draw with Grayson Perry

TV review: Grayson’s Art Club wants to soothe our lockdown blues. It’s almost working

Grayson’s Art Club: Mary Hannigan’s drawing of Donald Trump

Grayson Perry is so convinced art can soothe our lockdown experience that he has started Grayson’s Art Club (Channel 4, Monday, 8pm) to help us find our creative side, promising that the work we produce after watching will “tell us some truths about who we really are”. He isn’t wrong. The work some of us produce tells us we can’t do art.

He, of course, is ace at it, with a Turner Prize among his many gongs. He demonstrates his talent by sketching his wife, Philippa, and then re-creating it on a plate. She is moved by the portrait – “I think you know me better than I know myself,” she says, “I love it” – even forgiving him for suggesting the lengthiest part of sketching her is “putting your eye bags in”.

One of Grayson’s celebrity guests on the first show is the comedian Joe Lycett, who chooses an Edward Hopper painting as his favourite piece of art. It is the light in it that appeals to him most.

“I love that time of day when the light is low – it’s about four, five o’clock in the afternoon and it’s a perfect time to crack open a crisp, cold beer,” he says.


“I hate to tell you this, Joe,”Grayson says. “It’s called Morning Sun.”

“Oh shit, yeah,” he replies.

Grayson’s Art Club: Grayson Perry with his wife, Philippa, and his portrait of her

But, undeterred, Lycett sets about showing us that he’s better at practising art than he is at critiquing it, Grayson setting him the challenge of producing a portrait of someone.

Lycett, for the times that are in it, chooses Chris Whitty, England’s version of Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer, but before he begins he warns: “I don’t care about likeness at all.” You’ll find some of the contestants on Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year saying similar things, and then painting a fishing rod when it’s meant to be Dot from EastEnders. Chancers.

Lycett’s effort, though, isn’t bad at all. Grayson particularly likes the colour he chooses for the background. “It’s sort of PPE blue,” he notes. But Lycett tired towards the end of his session and decided to drink wine instead. When he woke up in the morning he spotted that he had added some text to the work: “Wash Your Filty Pig Hands.” After Zooming the image to his mother, she pointed out the spelling mistake, so Lycett added a scrawled H to filty. “And I have an English degree,” he says, blushing.

We then see a series of submissions from viewers, ranging from the startlingly impressive to those of a quality similar to our Donald Trump effort. The best of all, though, comes from a man who has re-created Grayson himself using soy sauce, noodles and tomato ketchup. The truth he learned about himself was that, in the absence of paint, crayons and the like, he’s mighty resourceful.

Next week’s theme is animals, so have your Jack Russell, soy sauce and noodles at the ready. And then let your inner artist soothe away the lockdown blues.