What the Hell Are you Doing? – The Essential David Shrigley is the funniest, yellowest, biggest, bestest art book of all time ever, by our Funniest Living Artist David Shrigley. A three hundred and fifty page 'greatest hits' hardback with a baffled cow on the front, it represents a landmark in the career of the great Shrig, whose inimitable style - imitated like crazy! - has permeated the culture in strange new ways. From high art to lowly greetings cards, high end ad campaigns to merchandised kitchenware, Shrigley’s work is absolutely all over the shop, but never anything less than consistently funny, unflinchingly dark, and repeatedly, gloriously offensive. Most art books tend to be about as LOL-funny as hepatitis, and so What The Hell Are You Doing comes as a truly welcome relief.
We went to the West End of Glasgow to poke cameras at Shrigley in the confines of his beautiful home. He and his lovely wife Kim were supremely nice to us and generous to a fault, offering tea with a choice of cow’s or goat's milk, burgers and indeed chips, one paperback copy of Don DeLillo’s Libra, one DVD copy of Guns ‘n’ Roses Live in Tokyo in 1992, and two copies of Man in a Room; the miniscule illustrated story Shrigley published in 2007. Man in a Room’s sparse Beckettian comedy has recently been adapted into a live-action short film, by Rafael Palacio Illingworth, a New York filmmaker about whom Shrigley knows alarmingly little. He showed us the film, and it was really surprisingly good. Look out for it.
The Shrigleys have a splendid collection of art, almost all of which seems to have been made by personal friends who we've never heard of, apart from Edwyn Collins. Philip Guston is David's favourite painter. He wore big running trainers and a zip-up tracksuit top and said he loathed the world of fashion. He's dead into music, new and old, and told us that going to gigs in Glasgow is his only social life. Later, on the way to the launch party for the book, where his pal's band 'Correcto' were to play, Shrigley became the only person we've ever met who wore a seatbelt in the back of a black cab. Who knew those things even had seatbelts? The man is a pedagogue and a visionary and a total national treasure. We hope you like this film we made about him.