Hospitality: Understanding Emerging Artists
25th June 2020

In 2019 SAW released a publication. The publication was the outcome of many months of self reflection and careful consideration, within it’s pages we sought to explore and explain what SAW is, what it has been, and what it aims to be as an organisation. There are several essays within it that explore different aspects of our thinking and practise- here is one of them.

SAW has a commitment to supporting Emerging Artists, which we define as creative practitioners within the first ten years of their practice, regardless of age, education or artistic exposure.

Someone recently likened becoming an artist to becoming a parent – from the moment the baby is born you are a parent, but you’ll spend the rest of your life learning how to be a parent. Being an artist could be considered similar, from the momentary realisation of personal artistic potential, developing into the lifetime of artistic practice. Defining yourself as an artist is a counter-cultural act – it seeks to devote a large part of your life not to production or earnings, but to investigation and creation. It is often fraught with self-doubt and frustration, not the easy success of the oft-depicted creative genius. Ten years takes into account these emotional struggles, not to mention the practical need to pay rent and bills. A Fine Art undergraduate degree may take as little as three years but many graduates, whilst they may identify as artists, would admit they have only scratched the surface of their practice. It will take many more years for them to define themselves fully. Other artists will not have, for whatever reason, been able to access university or have realised their artistic potential later in life. We do not seek to separate or treat these groups differently – they are all artists in need of support and encouragement, and our role is to push them to be – to embody – their creative potential as an artist.

Gemma Herries, Emerging Artist Coordinator

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