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Discussion: Age & Art

Of late the topic of discussion is whether or not the ‘younger’ generation appreciate art, or have any form of interest whatsoever? This is usually aimed at those within the age groups of eighteen to late twenties. The answer to this has and alway will be yes, so why don't more people attend galleries, exhibitions or buy art then?

To many the stigma around art is that only the upper echelon can enjoy it, from high end galleries in pricey areas to the press only ever really commenting on art when a record figure has been set at an auction, highly appealing to our generation isn't it? Art is about expression not just the numbers.

When speaking to those within my age group and circles, the echoes of feeling somewhat unwelcome isn't a great thing to hear. Worried of the prowling eyes of gallery staff, or those who are new to art being barraged with an array of questions on art knowledge forcing them to feel embarrassed or out of place.

In the past curators have opted for specific types of art which overlook certain age groups and demographics, I cant tell you how many times as a kid I was bored shitless looking at bloated aristocrats in wigs or green rolling landscapes. However times have shifted and now is a great time to get people into galleries to explore art, sculpture and installations further. In the past two years the two Tate Galleries have had an array of exhibitions such as Soul of a Nation and Queer British Art appealing to a wider audience encouraging those of all ages and ethnicities to want to find out more and eventually visit. Many within my circle are parents and make a conscious effort to take our children to exhibitions and musical events, to open their minds to visuals sounds and atmospheres in different environments. This also prevents any preconceptions as they're growing up that art is something they cannot get into.

Shifting focus, personally I think the discussion should be how the younger generation are changing the art landscape, by creating their own avenues to share and monetise their work. Social media has encouraged the new wave of artists to create what you could call digital portfolios which not only enable them to showcase their work to the world, but take commissions, sell their creations and have art selected for galleries. As I have said in the past the days of the gatekeepers are disappearing, as consumers and enthusiasts can follow an artist learn more on what inspires their work and processes, enabling them to buy into both the artist as a person and their work.

Independent artists have also ushered in the interest for affordable art. Dealing directly with consumers through their own websites and platforms such as Etsy, it is becoming a win win situation for both artists, buyers and enthusiasts. To close, the idea of the younger demographic not being interested in art is slowly beginning to erode as more are walking through the doors of all different types of galleries, art shows, and markets with aspiring artists taking control of their work and how much they earn.

We can conclude things are moving forward...

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