A Reflection of Class, Privilege, and their Intersection within the Art World

A reflection of class, privilege, and their intersection within the art world.

The dynamics of genetics and environment shape our lives in profound ways, imbuing an element of luck in our fortunes. This is particularly evident in the art world, a domain that often tilts favourably towards those born into monetary privilege. Over the years, undeniable statistics and anecdotal experiences have underscored this reality for me.

Let me be clear before continuing- this isn’t about discrediting any artist’s background; all artists are spectacularly and to be celebrated. Though, as a working-class artist without inheritances or familial connections within the industry, I aim to shed light on the landscape that many artists navigate when entering the art industry. I aim to show how, while birthplace and supportive environments may indeed lend privilege to creatives, they do not solely define our trajectory. We can position ourselves as agents of our destiny within this sphere. If I can provide even a quantum of hope for those treading a similar path, then I consider my work well done.

Firstly, let’s reframe our perspective on our struggle. Since we cannot change inequity at birth, rather than succumbing to self-pity, lets exploit our unique experiences. Our adversities can become powerful catalysts that drive us beyond our circumstances. They equip us with internal tools and resilience.

It is not our backgrounds that determine our horizons; it is our self-belief that does this. And this belief is a choice that shapes our very reality. By affirming thoughts such as, “I can achieve great things. I will not settle for less than I deserve. I am prepared to ascend to the next level”, we create a starting point to turn aspirations into realities.

Once we believe in ourselves, success in the art world combines technical skill, resilience, innovation, and business awareness. It is about networking, constantly. It is a courage to make mistakes and get rejected, time and time again- and then learn from this. A willingness to expand ourselves intellectually and emotionally. It is a matter of consistency and discipline. It is realising that we are not at whim of fate; we must take accountability and responsibility for life. It’s being terrified and not letting it stop us from doing a single thing. Promoting our work shamelessly. Cultivating trust within. Being teachable but staying critical. Specifying goals, capitalising virtues, rectifying limits. It is nailing down on our habits because these are what we rise or fall to at the end of the day.

I cannot deny that unfavourable conditions pose hurdles for creatives. Believe me, I am aware of this. But who doesn’t love a challenge, anyway? Okay, we might have limited access to influential circles and resources and education and training and less time and flexibility and financial backing. But despite this, we have the power and capacity to create, break barriers, and triumph. Every creative is worthy of receiving recognition- the world needs you and your art!

1 thought on “A Reflection of Class, Privilege, and their Intersection within the Art World”

  1. You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve read through anything like this before.
    So good to discover someone with a few unique thoughts on this subject matter.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is
    needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

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