DEGREE SHOW SEASON
For most of the population the warming of the air and pollen in the breeze signals the coming of summer, but for London’s art students it means only one thing: degree shows. Sweaty palms and tired faces await the critical feedback of their peers as they display the accumulated production of their last year.
Although not many students each year end up selling their work to Saatchi or being signed by the Gagosian, there is a much more subtle, stable and consistent market which underpins the degree shows. This consists of normal, everyday people of modest means purchasing work they truly enjoy. To be sure, not many of us have a few grand to drop on a painting but if you have a genuine interest in a work then why not make an offer. A judicious swap here or a serious offer there and you could walk away with a piece of work which begins a collection.
Collin St John Wilson who donated his impressive collection of work to the Pallant House Gallery in 2006 collected work entirely from scratch by swapping work or selling existing pieces to fund new acquisitions. I would argue that one of the most important things artists can do is to support other artists and what better way than putting your money where your mouth is – or if you don’t have money try your bike, watch or the washing up for a month – you might just get a deal!
For a list of degree shows this year check out Artslant.com
-- Mike Tuck