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Artist's Statement

I have always been fascinated by the ways in which we interact which each other in society. We perform actions that can comfort (like a hug) and also actions that can hurt (like a punch on the nose). Furthermore we act differently at work than at home and treat friends differently to work colleagues. I’m interested in turning these situations upside down, subverting them and then performing them all over again. Initial investigations into these areas began by looking at actions. I used to hug people in the street and hand out badges to strangers asking them to talk at each other, directly challenging them to reach out of their comfort zone. I also got commissioned by Q Arts (now Quad) in Derby to get people smiling at each other. For three weeks I handed out postcards encouraging people to smile at each other. It’s important that people get involved in my work and performative actions are usually asked of the audience.

Humour has a large part to play in my practice too. The aesthetics of my practice are sometimes wacky and rather childish, in fact whole projects can seem very silly. It’s my aim to use humour as a tool for interaction and this approach can help in persuading people to get involved. There are underlying themes in all of my projects though that aims to make people think about how they act towards others. I’m a firm believer that art should be fun, for both me and the audience!

I also look at how the dysfunctional decide to communicate, essentially celebrities. Celebrity culture has influenced a whole section of society to communicate through autographs and achievement. It’s not a case of “Hello, nice to see you” it’s a case of “I’m better than you, would you like my autograph?” My most ambitious project so far saw me send my own personal signed photo to 1000 celebrities to see how they would react to being treated as an equal, celebrities together. The way I act has become a keen interest and tool in investigating my concerns in society and these works appeal to my playful and cheeky nature. Remarkably I got over 250 replies from celebrities, ranging from simple generic autographs to personal letters and even a jumper (from Terry Wogan).

I work in different media in different projects. Sometimes with performance art, sometimes with ephemera and even craft such as embroidery and watercolour painting. The main thrust of my practice is in galleries but I have also done commissions for off site events and mail art projects. I am a keen badge maker and give away a lot of work for free by handing it out in the streets or leaving badges on benches in specially limited edition envelopes. It is my aim to involve everyone, whether they are regular gallery visitors or not. 

Our language, conversations, interactions and even fights on a Friday night will always captivate me and make me want to create situations and I hope that the art that comes out of these reflections will make people think and also importantly, laugh.

Curriculum Vitae

‘The proclamation bench ‘2006 From the DOT arena II

Contact Details

David Garratt
Yorkshire Artspace Society
Persistence Works
21 Brown Street
S1 2BS

Tel: 07952318521


Nottingham Trent University 2002-2005
- BA (hons) Fine Art

Chesterfield College 1999-2002
- Foundation Diploma Art and Design
- Advanced GNVQ Art and Design
- A Level Art and Design

Solo Exhibitions

‘Oh, isn’t celebrity a terrible thing, thank God’
7 January – 25 January 2008
Yorkshire Artspace – Persistence Works

Group Exhibitions

Extremal?s Amatai (Extreme Crafts)
25 May – 12 Aug 2007
Contemporary Art Centre

Future Focus – This Year’s Model
22 April – 4 June 2006                            
35/36 Queen Street

The DOT Arena II – Sideshow (the fringe of British Art show 6 - Nottingham)
21 April – 28 May 2006
33 – 35 Belvoir Street

‘Art is a jealous mistress’
14 November – 9 December 2005
Chesterfield College of Art and Design

‘Under construction’
May 2005
Nottingham Trent University

‘The Communion state’
May – June 2005
Snienton TRACS, Nottingham
The Arboretum, Nottingham
Bullwell community centre, Nottingham

18 – 21 January 2005
Nottingham Arts Theatre Rehearsal Room
George Street

‘Robinsons Mill’
January 2002
Robinsons Mill factory



A Signature piece from David (By Ian Soutar)
Sheffield Telegraph, Page 23
11th January 2008

BBC Radio Sheffield Breakfast Show (Guest)
BBC Radio Sheffield, 7:30am – 8am
9th January 2008

Writings on the wall for Image and celebrity (By Martin Dawes)
Sheffield Star Newspaper, Page 10
7th January 2008

‘Five Questions for…David Garratt (By Amanda Trickett)
Metro Newspaper, Page 28
7th January 2008

Daiktai Ir Dalykai, Kuriuos Galima Padaryti (Things to make and do)
Extreme crafts exhibition publication, Page 17
May 2007

Future Focus ’06: This Year’s Model,
A-N Magazine, Page 9
July 2006

The DOT ARENA II catalogue, Page 3
Available from DOT artists group – Leicester
May 2006

‘Under construction’
Nottingham Trent University Fine Art degree show catalogue
May 2005

‘Hug a human’ (Interview with David Garratt) – Online magazine of Nottingham Culture
27th March 2005


Accepted on to the starter studio programme (for printmaking) at Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield. September 2006

Selected as one of the best art graduates from the East Midlands (2005) by Q gallery, Derby. Commissioned to make new work for Future Focus ’06: This Year’s Model

Awarded funding from North Derbyshire Arts and Education Authority to Project manage and exhibit in a show of new art graduates and past students at Chesterfield College. November 2005.



Curator and project manager of ‘Art is a jealous mistress’
Chesterfield College
14th November – 9th December 2005

Exhibition Installer at Q ARTS, Derby
2005 - 2006

Leader of teaching workshops
Chesterfield College
November 2005

Workshop Co-ordinator for PLAY at Nottingham Arts Theatre
18th – 21st January 2005