"Dreams seemed like a particularly relevant theme because we were all living in our imaginations during lockdown. Perhaps more vividly than in real life. The art of dreams can help us understand our inner lives and the different world we'd like to see around us.

Our dreams tell us what’s going on in our lives emotionally, so perhaps we need to pay attention to them. The other sort of dreams, the aspirational wishes and hopes, helped us see where we wanted to go after the pandemic. We were dreaming of the future. Let’s keep dreaming!”

grayson's art club logo

Gillian Allard

Sea of Dreams, Photograph, Courtesy of the artist

Jay Doughty

Launder My Dreams, Acrylic paint on canvas board, Courtesy of the artist

April Onomakpome

Hopes & Dreams, Collage on paper, Courtesy of the artist

Anthony Klej

Twin Set and Pearls, Pastel on paper, Courtesy of the artist

Gillian Allard

Jay Doughty

April Onomakpome

Anthony Klej

Johnny Vegas

Norman, Glazed ceramic, Courtesy of the artist

“This is Norman. I wanted to do something about a young lad who I used to see on the school run when I took my son to school. He broke my heart on a daily basis because he was just me. I so often wanted to stop him and say, “Look, things do work out.” So it’s about having faith in your own dreams and quiet ambitions. I’m smitten with him. He got me back into pottery. It has been a lifesaver during lockdown.”

johnny vegas' norman sculpture

John Olohan

Dream, Watercolour on paper, Courtesy of the artist

“I decided to show all the places and things that gave me pleasure which I was prevented from experiencing by the Covid restrictions. Things like my favourite holiday destination, or a visit to my local pub for a pint, or going to the theatre. There were many images but they cluttered the painting and dwarfed the main image of the sleeper. I narrowed it down to a fragment of an Egyptian sculpture that I always go and see in the Met anytime I’m in New York. This beautiful, sensual image seemed to encapsulate all the rejected images.

Being creative is very important to me. I am an actor and I am very lucky that I am in a creative profession. When I am out of work it is a great bonus that I can fall back on my drawing and watercolour painting. It keeps the old brain ticking over till the next job comes along. When lockdown happened all the theatres were closed
and work completely dried up and Grayson’s Art Club was a ‘life saver’.”

Isabelle Ewing

Synaptic Connections, Mixed media: papier mâché, wire, bandages, gold leaf, electric lights, plastic prism decorations. Courtesy of the artist

“My inspiration came from the feelings of sadness and vulnerability I felt as Covid swept through the world. The face has a resigned expression with an absence of hope. There was no sign of a vaccine when I was working on this bust, so I wrapped it in bandages and chicken wire for safety. I added the lights because we can still choose to have beautiful thoughts no matter how awful outside conditions are.”

Grayson Perry

16 Croissant Fanzines 2021, Photocopies on paper, Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro

Liberty Dearsley

We’re all Mad in Genderland, Digital artwork, Courtesy of the artist

Polly Morgan

Make Small Adjustments, Taxidermied Cornsnake, painted polyurethane, iridescent powder, varnish. Courtesy of the artist

“Social media and the Covid pandemic provide the context for my recent sculptures. I use the hides of snakes and designs in nail artistry to comment on the disparity between surface and reality. I explore how veneers are used to deceive. The skins of snakes offer camouflage or warn would-be predators away by mimicking more poisonous breeds. I compare them to images uploaded to social media feeds. The filters applied and the linguistic contortions made allow a particular perception to flourish.”

Lee Appleton

Mum’s Dream of a New Life (Pearl of the NHS), Collage, acrylic paint and ink on card. Courtesy of the artist

“We had information overload in lockdown. The daily briefing, reports, graphs, diagrams, percentages, tiers, R numbers, death rates. I wanted to remember the people.

Mum was one of the first Nurses from the Philippines to come here in 1969 to work in the NHS. During the pandemic we were seeing just how many NHS and healthcare workers were immigrants. I had a conversation with Mum. She was upset that so many Filipino Nurses had died “They were just like me, they wanted to work and have a better life and they’re gone.”

Mum’s dream was to have an adventure, and work towards a better life. In this photo taken at Manila International Airport she is on her way to England and the NHS. Walking towards the unknown, full of hope and utter joy.

I express myself through creativity. It’s so important to me because I’m naturally very shy and introverted. Exploring how I feel about something through a collage gives me time to think and respond in a private way. Creating art has helped with my mental health in the past, so during lockdown it was a real comfort to focus on my project exploring Mum’s story.”

Steve Nice

Dream Bar, Painted mural, Courtesy of the artist

“As all the pubs were closed during lockdown I wanted to create an artwork which embodied the atmosphere of a bar. Pubs are crucial for the wellbeing of individuals and communities. They provide a social environment which is difficult to get elsewhere. An obvious choice was a mural behind the small bar we have in our basement. The artwork gave me focus during the long days of isolation and an optimism that we will soon be drinking again in real pubs.”

Patricia Oliver

Eh? What? Watercolour and collage on paper, Courtesy of the artist

“I paint because I become absorbed in creating a piece of art. Lockdowns and the ensuing isolation are forgotten. I made this picture to illustrate a nonsensical dream I had. I am a giant barcode, very bendy and flexible. I am walking down a street and merrily chatting away. I am feeling very happy and normal. I am not aware I am something unusual. When I tell people I dreamt I was a giant barcode they say ‘Eh? What?’.”