The Artlyst lystical of creative people who dropped out at uni includes some predictable names: John Lennon, Orson Welles, good old Pablo Picasso. What do these names (Yoko Ono aside) have in common? They are prodigious geniuses who excelled beyond all expectations in their fields, notably going out on a limb and pushing boundaries (god I hate that phrase).
The BP Portrait award is coming up and every year I lament the boring, over-photo realistic mode of painting that is the fashion these days; arguably school teaches you a specific style and stifles the more unique voices. There’s too many school of painting in there. Not saying that these artists are lacking in any kind of talent, but that they create an artwork which is popular because it is technically good but generally not divisive in any way. The BP artists become notable when they deviate from the fashion – there’s one that pops up from year to year who is notably self taught, and uses a tempera medium in a style wholly new and refreshing.
My point? Given uni fees are now through the roof, with some students facing insane debts upon graduating (link – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36388011), the job market for fine artists is arguably slimmer than other professions. Seriously, instead of going straight into grad scheme headhunting or whatever, to follow your creative field to any degree of success takes years of hard graft and little return along the way. Where do we go from this? I could say to budding geniuses out there give up the uni, don’t bother, and do your own thing and your genius will be recognized as the next Orson Welles or whatever. Except today’s economic climate is so terrible that to get any kind of notice as an artist requires business acumen as much as artistic talent – enter Damien Hirst who’s more of a businessmen than any kind of genius. Today, you’d better get a day job and graft away in the background: because at the moment everything is stacked against unique original talent.
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