Are art schools giving their students unrealistic expectations?

For a piece I wrote in the Guardian today, I interviewed artists and graduates who have complained that art schools are failing to state explicitly enough how difficult it is to earn a living as an artist. Unlike the early 1990s – when new galleries were opening in the UK and collectors were snapping up the work of graduates barely out of college – a recession is now upon us and institutions are ignoring the realities of the day.

Clearly the recession is going to make things harder for students. Keep their feet on the ground by reminding them of this, says Gavin Turk. Don’t just name-drop alumni as if it was that easy to live off an easel in London, recent Goldsmiths graduate Naomi Pearce, 23, tells the art schools.

British artist Patrick Hughes goes further. Art schools are “extremely indulgent with their students,” he says. Another British artist, Fiona MacDonald, says London art schools have a “hot-house element” and treat their students as an “elite”. “It’s as if they are saying, ‘you are now here and going to have a career paved with gold,'” says the Chelsea school of art graduate.

Christopher Frayling, rector of the Royal College of Art, says this may have had an element of truth a decade ago but it doesn’t resonate now. “We really try to train them not to be dazzled by the celebrity,” he says. “If we were to dangle the carrot of gallery success in front of our students, it would be immoral. But we aren’t.”

see full article here

Comments are closed.