Perry studied at Braintree College of Further Education from 1978 to 1979 and graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1982. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2003.
He works in a variety of mediums but is best known as a ceramicist. There is a dissonance between the conventional forms of his vessels and the depictions that adorn them. He uses imagery and text to chronicle social concerns, his own formative experiences and to tell the story of his alter ego, Claire. The tone of his narratives is psychologically complex and often caustic. Although he uses traditional methods to make his pots, he employs a range of techniques, such as embossing and photographic transfers, to create intricate, animated surfaces.