collection of predominantly small works through regular forays to galleries. ‘Many people don‘t realise that the selection can be quite limited: it‘s like shopping for anything — if you decided you only wanted a certain shade of pink shoes. you‘d just have to choose carefully from what is available.' His shrewd. intelligent purchases. representing many of the recent young Scottiin talents. are already becoming
famous themser es; in circumstances
probably unimaginable any where else in Scotland lfl years ago. he recentlyentertained a visiting group of 18 private collectors from the American mid-west who. having heard of the ‘wonderful things‘ going on in Scotland came to see both public and private collections and to buy works both of young artistsand ofolder generation. like .lohn Bellany.
Some people. like writer and lecturer Mary Rose Beaumont. w ho introduced the .»\mericans to Scottish art. warn against the over-enthusiastic support of young artists. seeing it as potentially dangerous. ‘lt's part of the recent
expect to sell paintings this year or next. or even in the next five years. It [don’t get onto postgraduate. I'll get sotne kind of part-time work. rent a studio and carry on painting.'
DEBBIE LEE. final year Drawing and Painting about to study for 3 months in Florence on the John Kiiiross scholarship. Has a place to study at ('hicago Art School. waiting to hear about a scholarship to fund this trip. ‘When I was at school in l.cicestcrshirc. there w crc original llockneys and Suios on the walls. bill I didn‘t see myself as striving for the same sort of things as these artists. I didn‘t really appreciate fine art at all. Bttt now I've found ottt how easy it is to build tip a personal dialogue and get things across throuin imagery it you enjoy it.
increase in wealth that people have begun to think of paintings as comn‘iodities; they buy from the Royal (‘ollege degree shows in l.ondon and think "will this make a profit?" This isn’t necessarily a good thing for young artists and one or two of the (ilasgow Boys of the early 80s who w ere quickly taken tip by galleries were put under severe pressure to produce: they‘ve not been given time to develop and their work has gone seriously off.‘
‘l‘rying to find the right balance. Brodie Smith doesn‘t just limit himself to ‘young‘ work: his collection includes mature artists like Sir Robin Philipson and John l louston and mid-career painters like l-‘elim ligan whose large. compelling canvases are admired by Brodie Smith for being ‘beautifully crafted. with line draughtmanship.' lo spot new. young talent -— always exciting. sometimes a gamble — he visits the ('ollcgc degree shows. Like many exhibitions of new work. these can be a mixed bag. btit he believes it‘s important to be challenged by art. "Why should you only see things that you peronally like'.’ Apart from
Debbie Lee (Glasgow)
‘( ilasgow's been a wonderfttl place
to do that. 'l‘he course has been very fresh. hard-working and competitive. which is quite healthy because it makes you self-critical. 'l‘hc art schools open as many doors as they can. give you trips abroad and put a head on your shoulders that isn't tip in the sky.”
ROB STARK. final year Fine Art Photography planning to stay on and study as a post-graduate.
‘I didn't envisage going into photography- my ideaol the
medium was superficial and shallow.
.\'ow l lind it the most flexible medium there is. I’m trying to locate the difference between communicating normally and communicating through my work. "lilte work here has absolutely no
anything else. your own taste can‘t develop and change. you can't learn anything if you look only at things you‘re familiar with.”
Although he knows that inexperienced collectors could find the variable quality and styles at degree shows perplexing he also points out that. for some artists. it represents the best work they will ever do. Would-be patrons should also be encouraged by the fact that they are actually completing the creative process; the St Ives painter Patrick Heron has said that ‘the collector makes a more positive contribution to the continuance of art than anyone other than the artist himself' and Brodie Smith exemplifies this perfectly. offering generous hospitality and memorable parties. genial company and warm friendship to artists. Although a self-effacing man. he knows that by giving bankable encouragement to artists he is participating in a crucial way. ‘You might regret that you don't paint’ he says ‘but as a collector. you are still iiecessary'1it’s so important to have people who buy so if that's all you can do. that's what
Rob Stark (Glasgow)
commercial basis: you can explore your own ideas and having that freedom to work is great. Theory is really strongly emphasised: there are numerous seminars. tutorials and visiting lecturers. which is actually quite good. And I get a lot of response within the Department. ‘l’hotography is a 99.9 per cent commercial medium. btit the thought of working commercially doesn’t appeal to me a great deal. I’m in quite a vulnerable position. having only been in Art School. btit I’m interested to see how far I can go with a: ‘
SIMON WILKINSON. final year Industrial Design going to work for Philips in (iroinigcn. Holland.
‘I chose ( ilasgow because it felt good. and the School of Art's been
you have to do. You can do something which adds to your life. your home and you can be useful.‘
This way ofthinking means he avoids two different pit-falls. Firstly. Brodie Smith isn't tempted by the kind of ‘investment buying’ made regrettably fashionable by those values ofconsumer Britain that say smugly ‘I got this for a fiver years ago. it would cost you a fortune now". and secondly. he avoids the hangover from ()(lS idealism which somehow made collecting a dirty word. As Brodie Smith argues ‘if vou don't support galleries. ' contemporary art can‘t be shown; a lot of people are very smooty about buying art. btit somebody has to. otherwise the whole art system falls apart.‘ ((ieraldine l’rince)
See xlrI l’tlgt'forlltlt’l't‘leti' it'll/I Edinburgh (‘ollege ofxlrt'v "lit/Jestri” Department and details of art school degree .v/ioii‘s (Edinburgh (‘ollege ofxl rt. (ilusgoii' School of .-lrt. and ()utside t/ie ( tiles/or .-ll)erdeen and Dundee).
Interviews compiled by .S'i'mon Buy/y and .‘llldl't'lt' lito'net
incredibly good for me. lvisitcd the Royal ('ollege in London. btit it‘s very closely involved with the industry. and didn’t give the opportunity to push in your ow n direction. llere ,Vou't'c left very much alone. '
‘l'ni trying to generate products that question the way we view society. liacli designer has a personality. and that is encouraged here. though I've also been made aware of the reality of the industry.
‘I studied on the Norman .\lc.\'allv exchange in Rhode Island for eight weeks. and I planned to go back i there as a postgraduate. l was all set. I btit then the head ofdesign at Philips
offered me [his job. The chance It)
design in the real world scented \t) l5 .lune l‘IS‘) 11