Martin Gayford on London’s contemporary artists

Lisa Moravec: Do you think new artists rely even more on writers, investors and collectors in order to kick off a career because of the large number of contemporary artists nowadays? If so, does this make it hard to judge to decide what art is?

Martin Gayford: I would say the artist needs an art dealer who takes an interest in his work. I think the dealer really crucial. There are a lot of examples of artists whose reputations would be higher if they would have had better dealers in history. There are lots of other artists which reputations were made by having the right dealer. An artist without a dealer has got a problem.

LM: If artists already know people who are willing to invest in their arts is it still crucial for them to have dealers?
MG: I would say yes. He might be able to make it work if he was quite well known but starting off without a dealer would be very difficult I think.

LM: Looking at the large number of arts universities in London, such as Goldsmith, do you think that artists decide to go there to build up a network –with dealers, collectors and other artists?
MG: Well, I think it can be useful because they need to meet the right people.

LM: Is it necessary for emerging artists to graduate from an arts university in order to make a living as an artist?
MG: I would say it is helpful but it is not necessary as there are many artists who are self-taught, for example Francis Bacon and Vincent van Gogh.


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