Damien Hirst Gives Thumbs Up To New Art Scholarship Honouring John Hoyland

The inaugural John Hoyland Scholarship has been launched at the Chelsea College of Arts in memory of the late John Hoyland, one of Britain’s leading abstract painters. It is hoped the scholarship will encourage students from less privileged backgrounds to apply for the College’s MA course in Fine Art.

Applications to MA courses at the Chelsea College of Arts are noticeably fewer this year, a fact Dean George Blacklock puts down to increased tuition fees putting applicants off even considering further education – particularly in the arts. Blacklock says, “Fees are a fact of life now, but scholarships such as the John Hoyland and the Frank Bowling Scholarship are key to nurturing students of John’s calibre.”

Damien Hirst, a friend and longtime champion and collector of John and his work, says,  “In my eyes John Hoyland was by far the greatest British abstract painter and an artist who was never afraid to push the boundaries. John was an artist who often felt like an outsider himself and understood that artists don’t fit into a neat system. John would have loved this scholarship, nurturing new creative and artistic talent and creating opportunities for artists from all reaches of life who can’t easily get funding. A scholarship like this is amazing.”

Hoyland was a former lecturer at Chelsea College of Arts and Central Saint Martins, and founded Chelsea’s first nationally recognised Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art in 1965. He was one of a cohort of brilliant young artist–teachers at Chelsea that included Pop artist Allen Jones, Howard Hodgkin and Patrick Caulfield. His work Memory Mirror has just been named one of the top ten artworks to be included in the Art Everywhere Exhibition, the UK’s biggest art exhibition.

George Blacklock continues: “John was one of the principal architects of the Chelsea College brand, and his contribution to the College, as in the case of his contribution to British art, cannot be underestimated. Both an artist and a teacher, he made an immense contribution to Chelsea and the debt we owe him is tremendous.”

Born into a working-class family, John Hoyland was passionate about art as an alternative to mainstream education. Rather than take the traditional grammar school route, he studied at Sheffield School of Art from 1951 to 1956 and then at the Royal Academy Schools from 1956 to 1960.

As Hoyland’s widow Beverley Heath-Hoyland says, ‘John had himself benefited from similar generosity – if it hadn’t been for a grant from the Yorkshire Education Authority he would never have had the funds to stay on at the Royal Academy Schools and pursue his ambition of becoming an artist.”

She continues: “John was passionate about the educational aspect of art, and the creation of alternative educational routes for creative individuals. The traditional system didn’t suit him, and he always wanted to ensure young artists were given every chance to flourish and weren’t excluded – through sheer lack of money or opportunity – from pursuing their vocation. After all, what kind of art world would it be if it only included artists from a particular stratum of society – those with money?”

Established by the John Hoyland Trust, the Scholarship will support a UK or EU student on the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts by fully funding their course fees of £8,500 and will be awarded according to financial need and academic merit.

All applications must be received by noon Friday 25th July 2014.

Download Application Here