David Shrigley’s monk-like lockdown: rice, drawings and ‘balls cold’ sea swims
Isolation in Devon has inspired the artist, with an outpouring of 400 black ink drawings about anything from coronavirus to Donald Trump. He reveals why his wife would prefer him to wash the car
‘Sometimes,” says David Shrigley, “I feel like a monk transcribing the Bible.” The artist, speaking by phone from lockdown in Devon, is referring to the meditative form of creativity he has been practising ever since isolation began. His aim is to produce a set number of drawings each day. “Sometimes it’s quite hard,” he says. “You just have to focus on it, like yoga or something.”
Shrigley’s entire lockdown life has a monkish feel to it. He is on the 16:8 diet, which involves fasting for 16 hours, and has been having 45-second swims in the sea, which he finds restorative but “balls cold”. At the start of 2020, the artist, famed for his absurd drawings that pair humorous quips with roughly drawn cartoonish characters, had at least eight overseas trips scheduled. But the pandemic has seen him swap international travel for coastal walks, trips to Waitrose and endless hours in his small studio.