November 06, 2013

Grayson Perry - Outside Artists

In the fourth lecture of his Reith Lecture series on BBC Radio 4, Grayson Perry said that, for artists, "self-consciousness is crippling." He suggested that non-trained artists are more unfettered, more unencumbered and freer from this concern. He said
"One of the groups of artists perhaps who don’t suffer from self-consciousness as much as others are outsider artists. Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved outsider art. Outsider art is art done by people who haven’t been to art school, probably don’t even have much knowledge about the art world or the market or they’ve maybe not even been doing it for other people; they just do it for themselves and never show anybody."
He continued:
"But becoming an artist is not just a process of having low impulse control or a burning unconscious desire to express yourself. There is a point, a fixed rung if you like, on the greasy pole of becoming an artist; and it does feel - many artists here will probably say - it does feel like a greasy pole. There is a fixed rung and that is going to art college because anybody can become an artist without going to art college - I mean outsider artists are a fantastic example of it - but it’s very difficult to make a career as an artist."
Grayson Perry made another interesting observation on the returns made by those who have invested time and money on going to university. He said:
"I mean on page thirty-one of the Department of Innovation and Skills Report, The Returns of Higher Education 2011, there’s a rather stark graph. I feel quite bad almost bringing this up in an art college, but I thought I have to confront this situation, which is that compared to someone who’s never been to university at all, the average art student will make just 6.3 per cent more money than that person. Women though will make 11.7 per cent more; men 1 per cent less than if you never go to art college. And that’s quite a shocker. But in many ways, I find it almost heartening because I think people still want to go to art college! And we’re always talking about arts, not about money or anything like that. So if these people, they still want to go to art college even though statistics staring them in the face are telling them they’re probably perpetuating their poverty by doing it, (LAUGHTER) I think that’s lovely. I think that’s a good thing. We almost need to celebrate it. But for an individual, there is no guarantee of making money in the art world." 

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