Grayson Perry 'The Earl of Essex' Miniature
Dimensions: 16cm x 10cm x 3cm.
This miniature is one of the actual works from an exhibition entitled Who Are You? at the National Portrait Gallery. Each of the works in the show is an image about the nature of identity, a snapshot taken from the narrative of someone's life. Our sense of ourselves feels constant but our identity is an ongoing performance changed and adapted by our experiences and circumstances. We feel like we are the same person we were years before but we are not.
This miniature is of Rylan Clark who came fifth in the talent show the X Factor in 2012 and won Celebrity Big Brother a few weeks later in January 2013. Now presenting Big Brother's Bit on the Side, Rylan has become famous in a very short period of time. In some ways celebrities are like the aristocracy of our times and I have portrayed him on a miniature in the style of the Elizabethan court. Rylan's striking looks brought to mind a dandyish nobleman as portrayed by Nicholas Hilliard. The fame Rylan pursues comes at a cost in that it unbalances relationships with strangers and friends alike. The miniature implies a lost intimacy and also echoes the smart phone screen natural home of the 21st century celebrity portrait.